U High's 'Titan Talk' newspaper comments shock students, parents

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on April 14, 2010 at 8:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 15 at 12:55 PM

SPOKANE VALLEY -- Many parents and a Spokane Valley High School principal are upset over controversial remarks printed in the school newspaper.  The article is sparking an internal investigation at University High School.

A column in the paper asks students, "If you could be famous for anything, what would it be?"  One student responds, "leader of the KKK".  There are more comments like this the principal cannot believe made it into print last Friday.

"I first saw it yesterday morning and I was horrified because I read it immediately objected to the fact that we used terms in that article to me that are offensive.  They are distasteful and certainly inappropriate," said University principal Daryl Hart.

Principal Hart says he does not have time to proofread the school's bi-monthly newspaper.  He relies on student editors and a paid staff member.  Last Friday, the school printed its latest version, "The Mercury".  A section labeled "Titan Talk" gives students a chance to express their thoughts.  The question was, "If you could be famous for anything, what would you be famous for?"

Some of the answers included curing cancer and being a pro boxer.  But some went the other direction with answers including being J.F.K's assassin, killing someone famous, killing the president with a trident, and being the leader of the KKK.  Principal Hart says he has asked some students about their comments.

"Our kids had said, yeah, I said it.  I didn't mean anything by it.  It was a joke, it's not funny.  I didn't want it reported, and it got in there anyway," said Hart.  He says he even talked with the paid staff editor who offered no excuse.

Apparently, the paper's two student editors say the first time they saw the comments was in print.

"We were under a lot of stress, and there's only three of us working the entire 12 page newspaper," said newspaper co-editor Danny Bush.

The principal called this a learning moment.  He is investigating the mind set of the students who made the comments.  He has not decided what, if any, disciplinary actions will be taken yet with all involved.  The school destroyed every undistributed copy of the paper.

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