Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Neshaminy students getting education in Orwell, "1984"

I didn't think I could be creeped out any more about the situation at Neshaminy High School in Bucks County, where an authoritarian principal egged on by a Glenn Beck-addled (I'm guessing) school board roamed the hallways recently, scooping up hundreds of copies of the student newspaper The Playwickian so they couldn't be read. This was all because the editors exercised their rights not to publish the racially-offensive-to-native-Americans "R-word" in a letter to the editor (they were going to use "R-------") and when told by the school not to do that, yanked the letter altogether.

Neshaminy students getting education in Orwell, "1984"

I didn't think I could be creeped out any more about the situation at Neshaminy High School in Bucks County, where an authoritarian principal egged on by a Glenn Beck-addled (I'm guessing) school board roamed the hallways recently, scooping up hundreds of copies of the student newspaper The Playwickian so they couldn't be read. This was all because the editors exercised their rights not to publish the racially-offensive-to-native-Americans "R-word" in a letter to the editor (they were going to use "R-------") and when told by the school not to do that, yanked the letter altogether.

Now, ripping a page from George Orwell's "1984" (see what I did there?), the school has made things even worse -- throwing the online presence of the Playwickian right down what Orwell called "the memory hole."

Student editors of the Neshaminy High School newspaper said they lost access to the newspaper’s website and email, which are still active, last week, at the behest of school administrators. The deletion comes as the latest twist in the fight between the newspaper staff and the district over the newspaper’s ability to remove the name of the school mascot -- “Redskins” -- from its pages.

The embattled Playwickian student newspaper no longer exists on Facebook or Twitter, where the accounts have been deleted.

“It is just another attempt to injure the Playwickian and put (Newspaper adviser Tara) Huber in a bad spot,” said Reed Hennessy, sports editor and co-editor-in-chief. “It is not the best response, in my opinion, but that is not my decision to make.”

Calls and emails Principal Robert McGee for comment Monday were not immediately returned. In an email Monday afternoon, Superintendent Robert Copeland said the decision was not made by his office, but did not elaborate.

A part of me thinks that Robert McGee -- a.k.a., "the worst person in the world" -- is actually the most brilliant principal in America. I mean, look at the education that that the young editors of The Playwickian are getting -- in standing up to mindless authority, in exercising their constitutional rights, in public relations and in how the legal system works. Smart, free-thinking young people like Reed Hennessy will go far in the world! What Robert McGee is doing reminds me of Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue," using a trick to teach these kids to be tough in a cruel and capricious world...

...unless he and union-hating, anti-Native-American-slur loving board member Stephen Pirritano actually believe their own baloney...in which case they are a hideous curse on their own community.

About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

PLEASE COMMENT WITH PASSION...

...but not with racial slurs, potentially libelous allegations, obscenities or other juvenile noise. Such comments will, at our discretion, be deleted in their entirety, and repeat offenders will be blocked from commenting. ALSO: Any commenter advocating killing any government official will be immediately banned.

Reach Will at bunchw@phillynews.com.

Will Bunch
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected