Sections:

Principal censors the Steinmetz Star, one of Chicago's most highly praised school newspapers...

Stephen J. Ngo, principal of Steinmetz High School, 3030 N. Mobile, censored a students article intended for publication in the November - December 2015 edition of the school newspaper, the Steinmetz Star. The story was ordered cut completely from the paper, despite the fact that it was the most thoroughly reported story scheduled for inclusion in the newspaper's pre-holiday edition. The censored news story reports on the negative impacts of the summer 2015 decision by Chicago Public Schools officials to change the bell schedules at Steinmetz and some other schools in the district.

The Nov.-Dec. 2015 edition of the Star was distributed on Dec. 18, 2015, without the students' planned page-one story about CPS' changes to school bell schedules. A small piece reports on Principal Stephen Ngo's censorship. A PDF is available at http://issuu.com/steinmetzstar/docs/steinmetz_star_12.18.15. Ngo told this reporter (the Stars faculty adviser and a teacher at Steinmetz) that he was censoring the story three days before he received the article. Ngo told me that the story had to be pulled following a meeting he had about the story with Network 3 Chief of Schools Randel Josserand.

[See "Investigation into CPS 'network chief' Josserand uncovers past scandal."]

Ngos reaction to the network chief apparently led to his unprecedented move to censor the Star. Ngo ordered that the entire article be pulled from the paper, even though the article was based on extensive reporting and was timely as the late end-times of classes at Steinmetz brought criticism from a large number of students and families.

Under powers still allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court's Hazlewood decision, Ngo has practiced prior review of the Star since June 2013, but until the November - December 2015 issue he had never censored an article.

The Star, published regularly since the school opened in 1933, has been recognized as one of the top school newspapers in Chicago since I became the adviser in 2009 and began entering student work in the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago McCormick Media Awards.

Every year the Star is one of the top winners as judged by professional journalists and journalism educators in Chicago. The papers staff has regularly won McCormick Media Awards for overall newspaper and website, news reporting, feature writings, sports, reviews, profiles, photography and art. Between 2011 and 2015, alumnus Hugh Hefner donated $50,000 to the Star for professional printing and journalism equipment. Hefner's donations came after the Star covered his visit to the Playboy owner's alma mater, in town because of the Chicago premier of the documentary "HUGH HEFNER: Playboy, Activist and Rebel." Hefner was on the Star staff when he was a student at Steinmetz.

Content of the article

Three days after telling me the Star story could not be published, Ngo received the story from the student who bylined the piece. After reading the 16-page story, Ngo continued to insist that the story should not run.

The story on the "late start" for the 2015 - 2016 school year was one of the most throughly reported major stories of the year. Students on the Steinmetz Star staff had tabulated 1,400 surveys completed by students, parents, faculty and staff, interviewed Ngo, researched CPS official reasons for the change in schedules, and analyzed other schools schedules for the story.

In addition to reporting the above information, the Star reporters quoted dozens of Steinmetz students, parents and staff, who commented about how the change in day affected them, positively and negatively.

The Star story reports the official CPS reason for the change, quoting CPS Chief Executive Officer Forest Claypools claim that the schedule changes, at the later start schools and those that had schedules changed to earlier times, would save the district $5 million in transportation costs. Claypool ordered the moves during the summer of 2015, within weeks after his appointment by Rahm Emanuel in July 2015.

The Star staff had to change the Nov.-Dec. 2015 page one after Principal Stephen Ngo censored the main story. Student reporters made the censored story available on their website: https://childoffire.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/time-change/The reporting shows the results of the executive decision on the city's public high schools the 2015-16 bell schedules at 22 high schools is now one hour later. Eleven high schools moved to earlier schedules. More than 30 schools, which had been originally told by Claypool that they would have to adjust their schedules, have schedules that remain the same. At Steinmetz, the schedule is now 9 a.m. to 4:11 p.m., one hour later than it was last year.

The censored story shows that CPS treated Steinmetz differently than most other high schools. The Star quotes Board of Education president Frank Clark who said that for some schools going to a late schedule would have a negative impact and for that reason CPS backed off. The Star story shows that at Steinmetz there was little done to oppose or block the change once CPS announced it, even though the Local School Council president, teachers and administrators anticipated the negative consequences to student safety, employment, sports scheduling and activity participation because of the late dismissal. The Star story reports that many people at Steinmetz like the new schedule because of the late start, but that the majority are unhappy with the change.

Finding reasons to censor

After reading the story, Ngo told me the students needed to obtain additional interviews. Having read the story, I am placing a hold on it until the next edition of the Star, he wrote in an email on Dec. 14. I would like to see further revisions to the story to include comments from our own LSC and health professionals (possibly the Nurse Bass).

After students revised the story to include an interview with Steinmetz Local School Council President Jose Quiles as well as research on the health benefits of a later start by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ngo still refused to allow the story to be published.

In a meeting with the Steinmetz journalism class on Dec. 16, he told the students that the story needed more interviews from the Local School Council and a school health clinic worker.

Students insisted the story was fair and timely, and should be published in the upcoming issue of the Star. They said that the story was complete and they could always do a follow-up. They said that the nurse or private health clinic workers input was irrelevant and that there was additional research that could be added regarding student health and the school day, including crime statistics, since students are now leaving the school in the late afternoon.

When pressed about his decision to censor the paper, three days before he saw the story, Ngo said, Its my decision.

Network involvement

Because Ngo had spoken of the Josserands desire to keep the later CPS bell schedule proposal for Steinmetz (and other Network 3 schools) in faculty meetings and with students, I emailed Josserand, in my role as adviser to the Star, asking him if he would comment on the students story.

Star reporters and co-editors-in-chief discuss the censorship of their work after Principal Stephen Ngo met with the journalism class on Dec. 16, 2015. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.On Dec. 8, I emailed Josserand. I wrote the following:

Dear Mr. Josserand,

Some of my students in Journalism class are reporting on the change in the bell schedule this year for the Steinmetz school paper. They're working on a news story to be published before winter break. I suggested that the students contact you for a "react quote" based on what they found in a survey of more than 1,300 students, parents and staff. A large majority of those surveyed indicated that prefer last year's schedule. Many parents and students said they're concerned about safety; they don't like students having to walk home or take public transportation after dark. Parents and students also talked about the students not being at home after school to help with younger siblings. A big frustration for many students is getting to their jobs much later in the day. There were other concerns for students, such as feeling they don't have enough time for homework, sports and after school activities so late in the day. In addition, many students said they had trouble focusing in their later classes. We'd really appreciate having your statement. Of course the students also interviewed Principal Ngo. It would be great if you could answer any or all of the following questions:

1. Do you have any comments for our readers about concerns with this year's schedule especially about safety, family responsibilities and employment issues?

2. Do you think this bell schedule will remain the same for next year?

3. How does this schedule save money for CPS? (My students read the CPS press releases and have posed questions about bussing and costs to the Office of Communication as well).

4. Are there any other things our readers should know regarding this issue?

Thanks for your time and considering our request.

Teacher Sharon Schmidt, Star co-editor in chief Alejandro Hernandez (top left) and reporters pose with their 2015 McCormick Media Awards for news and feature writing, overall website, reviews, column writing and photography. Over the past seven years of Schmidt's journalism teaching and sponsorship of the Steinmetz Star, the Star has regularly ranked as one of the top high school papers in Chicago in the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, which includes public and private schools. Schmidt's student 2014 graduate and Star editor-in-chief Michael Amaya won "Student Journalist of the Year." Photo courtesy Brian Geans.On Dec. 9, without sharing any other explanation, Ngo told me that the story had to be pulled.

On Dec. 10, Ngo told me had been called in by Josserand to Josserands office and that Ngo was furious and that the story had to be pulled.

On Dec. 11, the student who bylined the story shared the story with Ngo.

On Dec. 12, Ngo said in an email that the 16-page story needed more information. On Dec. 12, Josserand emailed me twice and said that he would meet with journalism students in class on Dec. 16.

On Dec. 14, after receiving an updated draft, in which student reporters had included information from an interview suggested by Ngo and added research Ngo requested, Ngo said in an email message that the story could not run.

On Dec. 15, after Ngo again confirmed his decision, this reporter, a teacher and associate delegate at Steinmetz, filed a grievance with the Chicago Teachers Union, stating that the attempted censorship of the Star story is not only a violation of the union contract (by creating a work situation) but also a violation of Board policies and practices, which encourage the free, open and democratic exchange of ideas in the schools.

On Dec. 16, Ngo told the Star student staff in their first period journalism class that the story could not run in the school newspaper. When asked why he was censoring their story, and had told their teacher that it would be censored three days before he had even seen it, Ngo said, Its my decision. Josserand did not come to the class.

After the Nov.-Dec. 2015 Steinmetz Star was published on Dec. 18, 2015, Steinmetz senior McKenzie Lacefield, who bylined the bell schedule story, which also included many Star staff contributors, posted the story on her webpage: childoffire.wordpress.com.



Comments:

December 28, 2015 at 10:31 AM

By: Sharon Schmidt

Principal's reaction to free speech

After reports of the student's sharing the censored article on her own website began circulating on Christmas Day, I got the following message at 1:00 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2015, from the principal. (He had sent it to me and to 10 others at Steinmetz.)

He wrote:

"Counselors:

"Scratch Journaism [sic] for next year. We will not be offering it anymore. There will be no more Steinmetz Star. I'm still deciding what to do with it for the second semester.

"SJN

"Stephen Ngo, Principal

"Steinmetz College Prep High School."

December 28, 2015 at 12:13 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Principal can't cut programs without LSC approval

Contrary to what Stephen Ngo seems to believe (at least according to his bizarre December 26 email), the principal alone cannot make major curricular decisions. The power over curriculum is in the hands of the Local Schools Council -- NOT the principal. If the principal wants to take such a melodramatic action as destroying one of the most widely-respected and nationally known programs at Steinmetz, he has to ask for the approval of the Local School Council. Ngo may have some of the members of the Steinmetz LSC in his "back pocket," but he cannot simply edict such a major change. After all, the Steinmetz Star has not only been honored across the Chicago area as among the best school newspapers of the 21st Century, but is also regularly read and praised by one of its former staff members -- Playboy's Hugh Hefner, a Steinmetz alumnus. Since Ngo did some celebrity crawling (visiting Hefner at the Playboy mansion about a year ago while Ngo was in California) maybe Ngo wants now to talk to Hefner about how he is going to destroy the Star as part of CPS's campaign against the First Amendment...

December 28, 2015 at 1:28 PM

By: Theresa D. Daniels

Hefner a financial supporter of the Steinmetz Star

And as I remember Hugh Hefner contributed financially and substantially so that the Steinmetz Star could be printed, right?

December 28, 2015 at 1:47 PM

By: Linze Rice

Steinmetz Star

Sharon, can you please get in touch with me at 815-757-2233? I've been trying to reach out to you today. You read my article on bus stop changes this morning. Thank you!

December 28, 2015 at 1:51 PM

By: Cathy Meraz

Response to Ngo taking the Star down

I am a alumni I graduated in 2013. Being a part of the Star for one year made me realize how good I am at writing. I had the best teacher to teach me and help me improve my writing and help me get lost within my writing as well. I always looked for forward to my 8th period class and get ready to report on current events going on. I think this programs help students, helps them get lost in their writing, not focusing on personal problems but being able to get lost in their own writing and report on current events. I love showing people the articles I wrote. My sister will be a incoming freshmen and I want her to go to Steinmetz because I went there and it's a great school and I wanted her to join this class because she loves to write. Now that's not possible because this will be taken away and it's not fair to the students, and even the former students since I still read the daily Steinmetz Star.

December 28, 2015 at 1:52 PM

By: Kiara Davidson

Steinmetz Star

He is definitely out of line for trying to destroy the Star. There are so many young people who are doing not so good things. Then there are the students who enjoy journalism, and they are apart of the star. If this is taken from them where would that leave them?

December 28, 2015 at 1:53 PM

By: Gabriela Pineda

Student's don't have a voice.

Taking away the ONLY voice students have might be the worst idea ever.

The Steinmetz Star is the only voice the students actually have of being heard. Steinmetz doesn't fund the Star, so taking it away seems kinda stupid since they don't really support it in the first place.They can't take away something that isn't theirs.

December 28, 2015 at 2:01 PM

By: Christina Deer

Steinmetz Star

Steinmetz Star is a voice for students , why take something away that mean a lot to these students. If its taken away , what would they have left?. Its not fair to do this to the students of steinmetz . What is his point? Journalism is an outlet way to students to voice their opinions and be the voice for students. Its people out here doing crazy things and these kids are doing positive things , yet he want to take it away. It does not make sense. I was apart of the star team and it helped me express myself ! Also helped me better my journalism skills. Do not take that away from these students

December 28, 2015 at 2:03 PM

By: Estefani Garcia

Ngo's crazy decision.

I am speechless. Can Ngo do that to Steinmetz? Would he want to be remembered as the principal who took the star away? No, I believe he is just over reacting to the situation. In case he keeps this crazy thing going let me know what I can help with too! Im willing to do anything for the Star! It was one of the best experience I had and he has no right to take that away from future students.

December 28, 2015 at 2:19 PM

By: Armin Skenderovic

Steinmetz Star

Taking away the star is extremely unecessary. The star is by the students for the school. You take that away and youre taking away all the voices not just of today but times past. When you take tradition from a school you leave it bare and naked all im saying is when i was on the star team we had a blast producing good fun for the school to not only make them laugh but educate them of things occurig in the surrounding community and open a door way to success.

December 28, 2015 at 2:38 PM

By: Jennifer Czahor

Principle's Ignorance equals Student Downfall

When I was a part of the Star, it was something I was able to look forward to throughout my week. The staff was (and always was/ will be) so very bright and creative. There was not an iota of talent to be wasted within our groups of writers, artists, photographers, comic illustrators, and the like, especially since Mrs. Schmidt put us to work in the best ways always encouraging us to express ourselves (within certain parameters... I would try to slip in as much PG-13 "profanity" as I could in my opinion pieces). It brought the deep set talents out of the shyest people, and brought a voice to the quiet, but opinionated. Without the Star, I would absolutely NOT be the person I am today. Many of my friends wouldn't be who they are, either. I saw the people in my year blossom into wonderful writers and artists. I also had the pleasure of being able to see the people in years younger than me to do the same. It was certainly a treat while at Steinmetz.

I still get the pleasure, years after graduating, to see the wonderful work that the students create throughout the months of the academic year. It never fails to amaze me how much the Star develops through the years, with different ideas, views of pop culture, and most importantly, what's happening within CPS and the school itself....

Okay, done with the lovely sentiments.

Now to the UNCENSORED comments (oooOOOOooo)...

It's unfortunate to see that someone who holds such a high ranking in the school, and who is supposed to be held with such high regard, act out in such a passive-aggressive manner. He really sounded like one of those spoiled rich kids who didn't get what they wanted for Christmas, so they decided to unleash their displaced frustration by breaking something that meant a lot to his sibling. Not the best analogy, I know, but stay with me here. It's really disappointing to see that he's forced himself to become the bane of the Steinmetz community in such a short time. What a shame... and what a shame upon him. Way to blow it, Stephen.

December 28, 2015 at 2:42 PM

By: Bob Busch

Games

I cannot comment on this situation personally

because am not there.However lookout for a sudden rearrangement of classes that results in the loss of a position number.that happened years ago at a school where taught.Three consumer ed. classes were switched from the social science dept. to the business .Same thing happened when an electric shop suddenly became electronics. The results were that two teachers lost their jobs.Sad part about that was it was legal.

December 28, 2015 at 2:46 PM

By: Michael Newson

No involvement no students!

Wow why? There's no reason to cut that out. I seriously believe steinmetz school wouldn't be as involved without steinmetz star!!! Less involvement may lead to more student not caring about the school and what it has to offer. Students don't want to just go to school and that's it. Students need to have the voice.

December 28, 2015 at 3:27 PM

By: Emily Santiago

This Is OPRESSION!

When I transferred into Steinmetz, it was the most relief I had ever had. Not once did I ever feel challenged or threatened by staff or by students. I wasn't afraid to be myself or express myself as freely as I possibly could. I felt at home. Steinmetz became a safe haven for me, a second home. When I joined the Steinmetz Star, the stress and the worries just lifted off my shoulders. I was home when I walked through that classroom door. I made so many life long friends within those classroom doors. We could be ourselves, we could write about anything that bothered us or that triggered our curiosity. But, to hear this? It hurts! It truly breaks my heart to hear that one of the biggest Steinmetz College Prep's traditions are being broken. He's not only getting rid of the Star but the Journalism course itself. I learned WAY MORE about English in my Journalism class then I did in my 3 years of being AP English there at Steinmetz.

I won't stand for this. One of the main reasons that I loved Steinmetz so much was because there was no oppression of the students. What does he want from them? To be robots? To not have thoughts of our own? Are we not allowed to challenge the ideology of Network Chief who can't even show up to a tell a bunch kids it's about the money and their word doesn't matter?

December 28, 2015 at 4:14 PM

By: Kim Scipes

Steinmetz Star

I just hope students don\'t just take this shit lying down!

December 28, 2015 at 5:25 PM

By: Rebecca Romanenko

Principal Ngo is throwing a tantrum.

It's ridiculous to take the Steinmetz star away! I graduated in 2013, when the principal was already taking away parts of the art department and firing some very influential teachers. I can still see students with tears in their eyes, flocking to the art rooms to say goodbye to their favorite teachers. I remember principal Ngo demanding that we write about only certain things in the paper, turning what was fun and envigorating into something we had to be worried about. I remember Mrs. Schmidt submitting the paper and having to wait to see what he was going to change this time.

I only got to take journalism for one year, my senior year, and it changed everything for me. I wasn't always the best at attending school, but that class made me want to be there. Being part of the paper made me proud. It was a safe room for students to freely speak, to work hard, and to be encouraged by our intense motivation to finally have OUR words put out there. People were finally going to listen to what I thought, what I had to say. To take that away from students is disgusting.

So, Mr. Ngo, I desperately hope that you stop throwing this tantrum over being the big bad wolf in charge, and give students what they need, what they DESERVE. For the life of me, I can't understand why you'd want to have a school with no paper, after all of the things so many students have accomplished.

December 28, 2015 at 5:32 PM

By: Kimberly Brown

This article

It is incredibly unethical to bring students into a grievance between teacher and administration. Teachers and teachers unions face enough bad press, this just makes the entire profession look more foolish.

December 28, 2015 at 5:55 PM

By: Sharon Schmidt

Kimberly Brown comment

I don't think students speaking out about their favorite programs "make the entire profession look more foolish." I think it shows how cool high school kids can be.

See page one of the May 2013 Star "Students outraged over

firing of favorite teachers" to see what Rebecca Romanenko is referring to in her comment (the one above yours). http://steinmetzcp.org/pdf/newspapers/June%202013%20Steinmetz%20Star%20web%20edition.pdf

BTW: All the students who commented on this article so far are Steinmetz graduates. Of course, the current Steinmetz Star staff won't like it much, either, when we return to school next week.

December 28, 2015 at 7:08 PM

By: Kimberly Brown

Response to Sharon

Bringing students into your argument with Steve Ngo is unprofessional. If you want to teach students about standing up for their rights, give them an appropriate platform- sponsor student government or one of the class offices. For example, as the teacher of the journalism class, you could have empowered your students to write about budget cuts and their impact on civil rights, informed student journalists could break down the steinmetz budget and determine if funds are being used appropriately, or you could have had students compare the schools (socioeconomics, race, test score ranking) that have a late start and those that don't.

Instead, you chose to use your personal platform to share a student's blog, photos, and other school information. It is not ethically sound or professional to express your discontent with the principal's decision by partially printing the Steinmetz Star via a newspaper that you report for and are married to the owner.

One of the hardest parts of teaching students to stand up for their rights is making sure that we don't push our agenda on them. Being a teacher does not give someone the right to share their biased opinions to a captive audience of students- which is very easy for a respected teacher to do. All students have a right to make their own decisions; telling them what is right or wrong takes that right away from them.

December 28, 2015 at 7:17 PM

By: Koya Scott

Don't Silence Them!

Speaking as an alumni, pervious class president and part editor of the Star: the Star was a place for me to not only improve my writing, but was a vesicle for me to speak out on injustice or things that bothered me when being a student at SCP! Don't take that right from the current students.

Mr. Ngo always talked about being yourself and expressing your opinion, so let the students continue to do that!

I think it's best for Mr. Ngo and LSC to understand where the students are coming from instead of bashing them.

Cut the program and you'll watch student involvement drop significantly. The Star is a outlet for students involvement in the school and also the community; you can not take that from them.

Understand the students. Understand their points and what they are trying to achieve. Mostly, hear their voice.

Don't Silence them!

December 28, 2015 at 7:41 PM

By: Andriy Suden

Got to look at both sides.

While I do agree that it's silly to kill the Steinmetz Star and know that it will continue to live, I have to agree that the article should not have been published. I took a look at the article, and read every word of it. My opinion follows.

Kudos to all that helped make the article. The survey results, I believe, are a great instance of the 'show, don't tell' principle, which allows the reader to be more in touch with the event than they would have been reading the author's interpretation of the results. The results are representative, and the sample is big enough to accurately say that the majority of students and staff are unhappy with the change.

However, I believe the article was more of a biased study than a good article. A good article should not try to skew the reader into thinking one way or another, but should rather point them into their own investigation. I think the amount of quotations was an overload, and almost every single one showed the negative side of the change.

Please do not get me wrong - I am not a good writer and stand little chance to write better than many of the current Star editors. However, I know that the way a researcher frames a question can often elicit the answer. The first question to Mr. Josserand specifically uses the words 'concern, safety, issues', which is implicitly changing what might have been an objective answer to something that only looks at the negatives of the change. I believe asking the question, "Can you comment on the change to the schedule, giving what you believe are the positives and negatives of the change?", would have been more appropriate. Bold titles in the article stating things such as "comment on needing time for work", "interference with sports", "concerns about safety" all evoke negative emotions about the change, although the last two topics seem to address the obvious positives. As the saying goes, if your only tool is a hammer, everything you see is a nail.

The article, in my opinion, goes too much into criticizing the change, and gives a negative skepticism of the board's decisions - whereas it could have taken a more objective approach. I'm sure if these same surveyed individuals were asked whether they want change in the education system, whether they want to see kids do better in school, they would say yes. Although I don't exactly agree with the decisions the board is making, I can tell that this is definitely a change. The two best education systems in the world are that of Finland and South Korea. In Finland, the school day is only 5 hours - much less than that at Steinmetz. Firstly, Steinmetz academics were not any better back when we had a shorter day. Secondly, Finland is focused on working together and students receive on average < 1 hour of homework every day. If some students are complaining about not enough time for homework, then there are ways Teachers can address the issue as well. In South Korea, kids are in school from 9 to 5 and then take additional classes at night. Their classrooms are on average 40 people, and they spend the majority time in school. Their system somewhat resembles Steinmetz, and this change could possibly yield positive results if only the students would work with the change and not against it. I would love to see the article mention at least some of this - but it didn't.

From the personal perspective - I get it. I finish my last class at 4 right now, I go to the garage where me and my colleagues engineer robots, and I come out after 10pm, usually. I worked > 20 hours a week this semester so I wouldn't have to take out any loans - choosing to commute an hour to work because I made it fit my schedule. I still have family to take care of, chores at my parent's house and back near school where I live alone. I sleep, on average, 5 hours, I come home past midnight many times, and I still have time for personal endeavors. I have a 4.0, and I'm a sophomore Engineering student. Many students in other neighborhoods have it much worse, albeit many have it better, yet we choose to complain. Play the system, don't let the system play you.

December 28, 2015 at 11:14 PM

By: Latanya McSwine

Emotional Maturity

Are we really surprised at this emotional outburst?! This is the same man who yelled at an employee over the school PA system. GET TO THE NETWORK OFFICE NOW! Students were terrified and the staff was mortified. Only the good folks at Steinmetz and it's community can stop this bully.

December 28, 2015 at 11:40 PM

By: Tetyana Prannychuk

Steinmetz Star

While attending Steinmetz High School, going to Journalism was my favorite part of my day. Not only is the teacher Mrs.Schmidt incredible but being in the Journalism class and being able to write for the Steinmetz Star gave us as students a voice. We were able to express ourselves way more than in other classes. We were given opportunities to write about things that we felt were important. Not only that but it also gave us a chance to interact with other students from outside of class. I wrote many articles where I had to gather quotes from students I didn't know. This gave me the opportunity to socialize with students that I probably would have never socialized with if it wasn't for the Star.

The memories that I have from Steinmetz, always revolve around the Star. It was a place for us to have fun. When in High School, you don't get much of a choice of what classes you get to take. Journalism is something that we are able to choose and actually enjoy.

I learned great writing schools in this class and also learned how to speak up about certain subjects that I felt were important. The star also gave us the opportunity to get away from a boring day of school and go on a field trip to the McCormick Media Awards for news and feature writing. This was not only very educational but also a great time. I was given an award during this trip which made me feel very accomplished.

McKenzie Lacefield's story, although may be more negative than positive is just the truth. Although it might reflect badly on the decision that was made about the late start, it shows the opinions of the people who are actually involved. The article was not inappropriate in any way and I don't see any reason why it was not able to get published. Also, sometimes seeing the negative outcomes of a decision, is how we improve things for the future.

I would be very sad to see the Star go because not only does Mrs.Schmidt put in a great deal of effort into the Star but it also gives the students a chance to share their ideas and update the students on news that are relative to them. I graduated 3 years ago and I still talk about Journalism and being on the Star. I am proud to have been a part of such a great class and I'm sure the students now and the future students will feel the same way that I do today.

December 29, 2015 at 12:57 AM

By: Tamene Kindu Simegn

education

The articles of your written matterial is important for journalism scholars and students. So i hope see you in the future on smart phones of your association ideas.

Thank you

December 29, 2015 at 9:30 AM

By: Jean Schwab

School Newspapers

I thought that school newspapers were expected to write about schedules at their schools. Who else would write about or be interested than students at that school? What's the big deal? All this about nothing!

I am convinced that CPS makes a big deal about stuff like this-doesn't make sense.

December 29, 2015 at 9:53 AM

By: Patrick Boylan

Transparency

Sharon,

For those of us who are following this story and do not regularly read Substance could you clarify if there is a relationship between you and Mr. George Schmidt?

Respectfully

Patrick Boylan

December 29, 2015 at 10:26 AM

By: Sharon Schmidt

More reporting...interesting statement

DNAInfo's Linze Rice quotes CPS spokesman Michael Passman in her piece today:

"I can't explain his email," Passman said. "But I can tell you I've talked to senior people who would have oversight over this and they're not getting rid of the paper, that's absolutely not happening."

See http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20151229/belmont-cragin/amid-censorship-flap-steinmetz-discontinue-81-year-old-school-newspaper

December 29, 2015 at 11:24 AM

By: Stan Zoller

Steinmetz

The principal's actions are reprehensible.

The student staff of the Steinmetz Star are practicing excellent journalism and are also doing an outstanding job of demonstrating their civic responsibility.

They are protecting the public's right to know and are being stripped of their First Amendment rights by a principal who apparently is reacting out of fear.

January 3, 2016 at 12:36 AM

By: Theresa D. Daniels

What's Kim Brown's Agenda?

I returned to the December issue of Substance to see what comments Sharon Schmidt's article might have evoked. I was dismayed by the duplicitous argumentation and lack of logic in Kimberly Brown's comments(plural entries. I wish that Kimberly would state his/her relationship to the school system in general and to the Star in particular as he/she seems to have an underlying agenda in his/her need to criticize Ms. Schmidt without ever addressing the issue of censorship central to this scandal, especially given that most people would say that this is not even a controversial article. Kimberly offers other (what she claims are worthier) topics that Ms. Schmidt should have chosen to have the students work on as if those actually very controversial topics offered by Kimberly would not be censored. But Kimberly doesn't even see censorship here, so I'd really like to know what agenda could cause such blindness and foolish commentary.

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at substancenews.net. We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

3 + 5 =