The First Amendment, which calls for freedom of the press, is essential to our country’s practice of democracy.
In the United States, it is up to intrepid journalists to uncover abuses, scrutinize policies and hold those in power accountable. When the right to publish to the public is compromised, the people can no longer be sure of the integrity of their government.
In our own little way, we — as student journalists — carry on this tradition. We spend time reporting on the ongoings of the community, our small nation, in order to inform the student body, the people.
The Puma Press is not protected by the First Amendment. That is not to say that our publication hasn’t published articles that criticize administrative decisions or run op-eds with unpopular opinions; we have. Yet it is crucial to remember that University Prep is a private school, meaning that we as scholastic journalists are not protected under federal or state law. Our content can be subject to prior review and even censorship.
We feel that it is important for our readers to know that certain articles have been edited due to requests of the administration and that some stories go reported yet not published.
We understand that the administration has had legitimate concerns when exercising censorship, yet also acknowledge that, under new state law, if we were in public school, those concerns would never have to be part of our editorial process.
As UPrep funds The Puma Press, our coverage is often held to school standards set by the administration along with our own journalistic values.
We hope The Puma Press can continue to be a source of reliable news to the community, despite not having full autonomy. We are sure that the UPrep administration wishes the same.
Note: We publish this editorial in recognition of Student Press Freedom Day. We wish to thank the Student Press Law Center for their legal consultation and commitment to scholastic journalism.