In in students high school newspapers. The Hazelwood

In the play 12 Angry Men, Reginald Rose draws attention to the issues of personal bias and prejudice and how those can cloud decision making.  The jurors in the play must find a way past their personal views to focus on the rights of the accused.  In the Supreme Court case Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier School District, the justices must determine the extent of the rights of student journalists in expressing their views in school publications.  Their decision goes to the heart of the 1st Amendment.Because Reginald Rose, in his play 12 Angry Men, creates a juror room filled with twelve distinctive jurors, all coming from different backgrounds, social, racial, and personal prejudices enter quickly into the room. Being an outlier, Juror 8 was the only man who voted not guilty at the beginning and Rose shows throughout the play how eight looks past all other prejudices in everyone else and is able to convince the other 11 men in the court room one by one that the kid is not guilty. With juror eight’s strong opinion, he demands for some reasoning from the eleven other men, “There were eleven votes for guilty- it’s not easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first” (Rose 15). Although the men were frustrated about eights decision, they all eventually throw their preciseness aside and decide what is truly right based on the evidence.  Censorship and prejudice both play major roles not only in court rooms, but in everyday life. The Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case involves a large amount of censorship in students high school newspapers. The Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case raises the questions whether the first amendment rights of two journalism students had been violated after the principal deleted two pages of the school-sponsored newspaper. The principal was at offense because he took away the students rights of freedom of speech and press. Instead of letting them express their beliefs and positions he deleted their articles to avoid debate on controversial topics. Although the principal was fast to sensor the students work, the school came out with a statement, “Students, who have freedom to publish the viewpoints they see as important to their peers, may consider careers in journalism. Squelching students’ freedom of speech can reverse all of these positive factors” (Goodman). Schools are supposed to encourage students to pursue their chosen career paths instead of shooting down their professional ideas. Students who had wished to explore careers in journalism may feel re and scared to present their pieces of writing for fear of rejection. The rule of a principal is to inspire creativity in students and by censoring their documents it is discrediting their journalism abilities. College journalists have become worried, “While the Hazelwood decision dealt with high school journalists, many college journalists have feared that is could be used to limit their freedom” (Rooney 1). If rights of high school students are being taken away, college student’s could be too. In 1988,  the case Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier established standard for censorship of school newspapers. The decision of the principal to forbid the publishing of certain student articles reckoned to be improper contravenes the student journalists’ First Amendment free speech rights. Deleting articles that students were required to right in a Journalism II class seems to raise the question whether or not the principal deemed the rights of the First Amendment. Well, the U.S. Supreme Court indicated that the principals actions did not violate the students’ free speech rights. The Court stated that the paper was a school-sponsored paper and unless the school did not find the article inappropriate, they had full authorization over publication of the writings, “The school may reasonably regulate student speech in a school-sponsored setting to achieve its ‘legitimate pedagogical concerns; only when such censorship verves no valid educational purpose’ may a court intervence” (Goldstein 1). Specifically, the Court specified that the article’s purpose was not for the public, rather it was simply restricted to students in journalism classes as a requirement that would later be passed on to the school for pure review and editing. The impact of the Hazelwood ruling on student journalism in this country has been utter havoc. Student writers ubiquitous have been severely distressed and feel as if they may lose more rights to freedom of speech. Despite high school students being afflicted, “A federal appeals could ruled this month that a 1988 Sumpreme Court decision that gave wide latitude to high-school administrators to review the censor student publications does not apply to students newspapers of public colleges” (Rooney 1). After college students had heard this, they were relieved, although this could affect high schoolers going into journalism in college. Because High school students will be censored while writing, they will not be able to write to their full ability, causing them to be unprepared as they move on to college. College professors have worried students are not going to be expressing themselves enough and will not fill as comfortable with college journalism. Although greatly affected, high school students will have to learn to deal with the hand they are dealt and make the best of it. “We can’t guarantee the rights of some by taking away the rights of others” (Shea’s board 1). While the principal of Hazelwood East High School may have thought censoring the work of his students was beneficial,  the act took away guaranteed rights that we as Americans have. The First Amendment promises to protect the right of freedom to speech and by taking that right away, it makes American writers all around the U.S. fret about possibly losing authority in their future career.  Although the principal was quick to block out the students work, the articles that were written were written by students in the Journalism II course as a part of the requirements of that course. In the articles the students discussed divorce and teenage pregnancy, both of which were subjects of students at Hazlewood East High School. One of the teachers, angered at the principal’s plan on the situation said, “the students who produced the newspaper as part of the school’s journalism class had sought to broach mature topics that would be of interest to their classmates” (Walsh 1). Because the students were exposing topics seen in everyday life opposed to idealistic events, the principal, fearful of the true, gruesome side of life, made sure to keep the community from  hearing about the “bad” in school. Our world does a great job of obscuring the bad and revealing only what people want to hear. Because the principal did not except the fact that there is bad in the world, and he was so worded around trying to impress the school community, he didn’t take time to realize how he affected students entering their career of journalism.In the play 12 Angry Men, Reginald Rose brings  attention to the issues of personal bias and prejudice and how those can fan the flames of decision making.  The jurors in the play must find a way to look past their personal views and focus on the rights of the accused.  In the Supreme Court case Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier School District, the justices had to determine the range of rights of student journalists and view school publications and although high school students are provoked, in the end, the Court made a decision which raises questions about the rights of the 1st Amendment.


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