The Sylvania Northview student newspaper caused a stir this week with a page about student views on homosexuality, promoting strong reactions and an administrative review of the paper’s operations.
The page titled “A deeper look into homosexuality,” appeared in the opinion section of Tuesday’s edition of The Student Prints, Northview’s student run, staff monitored newspaper. The page consisted of five columns by students about their views on homosexuality, and a poll on how comfortable students would feel if their best friend admitted being gay.
Some of the students’ views caused both outcries and shows of support by current and former students, in person and on Facebook, where status after status referenced the publication. The newspaper’s page continued a variety of views; some expressed their views with strong language.
“Seeing gays or lesbians together is just disgusting to me,” one student wrote in the newspaper. “I cannot describe how weird it would be to be gay.”
An anonymous columnist describes admitting being gay, and asks other students not to make school horrible for those that are gay. Another expresses the student’s religious belief that homosexuality is a sin, and that being homosexual is wrong.
Reactions have been steady since the paper’s publication. Principal Steve Swaggerty said parents have called or emailed expressing concern that the views expressed could make students feel uncomfortable or could promote bullying of homosexual students. On Facebook, a debate raged about whether the publication was offensive or simply provocative journalism. Others bemoaned the constant cyber statements.
“A closed mind isn’t going to get you anywhere in life,” one student wrote. “You cannot always change what you disagree with, but you can accept it with an open mind and move on.”
Mr. Swaggerty said the columns upset many students at the school, including those who wrote the columns. He said he thinks the page’s intent was to “start a conversation,” but that the end result was something that made some students feel unsafe at their own school.
Though Mr. Swaggerty did not believe any students will be disciplined for the publication, he said there will be repercussions. “A deeper look into homosexuality,” will not be included with the rest of the edition when posted online. Normally, the school takes a hands off approach to the newspaper, allowing faculty adviser Sarah Huey to screen the content, but that process is now being reviewed.
Ms. Huey declined comment Wednesday, and student staff said they were instructed not to comment to the media.
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