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Seattle School District, Board Withdraw Student Newspaper Review Proposal

The Seattle School District and the School Board today jointly withdrew a proposed "freedom of expression" policy that would have given principals the right to review student newspapers before publication. The proposal, introduced at last week's School Board meeting, along with dozens of other proposals, caught national attention from journalists saying it squelched student freedom of expression. Here's today's press release:


The Seattle School District today announced that it will withdraw a policy proposal involving school district-sponsored freedom of expression. Interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield said that school board directors and district administrators jointly agreed to revisit the policy, introduced to the Seattle School Board Nov. 2, to ensure that it better reflects the community's values.

"As we move forward in updating our policies, as chair of the curriculum and instruction policy committee, I will direct staff to ensure that any policy we develop regarding student expression is reflective of the language and values that we share in Seattle," said School Board Director Harium Martin-Morris.

Policy No. 3220, which was based on a Washington State School Directors' Association-recommended policy governing freedom of expression, was included among a series of policy updates introduced at the Nov. 2 School Board meeting in an effort to address inconsistent language, duplication of concepts, and amend policies to reflect current district practice.

Based on a shared concern between district leadership and the Board, this policy will be pulled from the current list of updates, scheduled for Board action Dec. 7, and will be revisited in 2012, Dr. Enfield said.

"As a former journalism teacher, it is important for me -- as I know it is for our Board -- that we uphold our practice of trusting our teachers to educate our students on the rights and responsibilities that come with freedom of expression and a free press," Dr. Enfield said.

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