Neshaminy adviser suspended over newspaper's word ban

20131223-Neshaminy
The battle between student editors and administrators at Neshaminy High School over the word "Redskin" continues. Students claimed the principal confiscated copies of their latest issue.

The faculty adviser for Neshaminy High School's student newspaper was suspended for two days this week in what appeared to be the latest turn in a nearly yearlong battle over the newspaper's attempt to ban the word Redskin.

In an e-mail to the Pennsylvania School Press Association that was obtained by The Inquirer, adviser Tara Huber said that she was suspended without pay for "willful neglect of duties and insubordination," and that the newspaper would have $1,200 docked from its student activity fund.

The suspension came after Huber failed to prevent students from printing a copy of the paper in June in which they removed an op-ed article containing Redskin, a word they maintain is discriminatory.

 Neshaminy principal Rob McGee did not return messages Tuesday afternoon. Huber, reached by telephone, said she could not discuss the matter further.

The disciplinary actions appear to represent more ripples in a seemingly unending battle between administrators and members of Neshaminy's student newspaper, the Playwickian, over whether students can ban the name of the school mascot from the paper.

Editor in chief Reed Hennessy called the latest actions "upsetting," and added that Huber is "a very, very good teacher. She really cares about what she does."

Huber, Hennessy said, was outside the room in June when students decided to pull the op-ed containing the word Redskin from that month's edition and print it without approval from the principal.

The belated penalties, he said, thus feel particularly harsh on Huber, who in June was named "journalism teacher of the year" by the Pennsylvania School Press Association.

The sanctions, Hennessy said, demonstrate "that [administrators] really will do anything to protect their mascot or to control our paper."

 


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