“Who wears short shorts?” was the headline of a controversial article in the just-published River City High School (Sacramento, CA) year book. The piece was mocking the schools cheer team and what they wear, or don’t wear. And now, despite defending the student editorial team’s right to publish the piece, the school has encouraged the student editor to pull the article.
According to News 10 in Sacramento, the article blasted the team for showing “more leg than Daisy Duke” and being “dolled up in micromini [sic] uniforms” while “strolling down halls” with “blatant disregard” for River City High’s “school dress code.”
That caused outrage among the cheer team and the members’ parents, who said the uniforms not only are chosen for them, but do conform to the school’s dress code.
400 students received year books with the article in it, but the rest of the 600 books have been put on hold until a replacement article can be inserted. That decision came after the school admitted it couldn’t censor the article:
River City staff gave parents copies of the education code showing that state law allows for the language. Some school officials said because of a court case – referred to as “Hazelwood” – officials were forced to leave the final editorial decisions to the students.
Hazelwood is a late ’80s Supreme Court ruling that gives principals the power to review and censor high school newspapers. The Court ruled that “educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.”
The student editor — who was rejected by the team two years ago after trying out for the squad — responded to the controversy by apologizing, and agreeing to publish the replacement piece:
“I deeply regret submitting this page to my adviser, as well as letting it be published. I made an editorial mistake and I apologize for any pain that I may have caused. I did not mean for this spread to be malicious or maleconent in any way. This page was not an attack on the cheerleaders; it was not out of spite. While I did try out for the team in 2009, I carry no resentment towards the cheerleaders or their families. We [the yearbook staff] are currently taking steps to make amends. Again, I apologize for any hurt that I may have caused.”
You can watch News 10 reporter Natalie Sentz cover the story below. But as you might notice, Sentz really got into the story by donning the short-skirt uniform herself on TV. No lie: