Neshaminy Policy Subcommittee Prevents Student Paper From Bannin - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Neshaminy Policy Subcommittee Prevents Student Paper From Banning "Redskin" Term

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LANGHORNE, Pa. -

Student journalists at Neshaminy High School have quite the headline to write in their next paper.

On Tuesday, the policy subcommittee of the Neshaminy School Board passed a new rule, which stops the student editors of the Playwickian newspaper from banning the controversial word "redskin." It also happens to be the school's mascot.

Reed Hennessey is the incoming co-editor-in-chief of the paper.

He says he voted with a majority of classmates to not print the word, believing it was offensive to Native Americans.

"We ultimately voted 14 to 7 to not publish the word, so there were editors who had no problem with the word and still are you know, supporting us, behind us,” said Reed.

The board hired a special counsel to write the new policy, which gives students editing power over news articles, but less on editorials.

The policy says a word cannot be banned because they don't like the word or a particular view point.

"Assuming that it's a proper use of the word such as a reference to the mascot, the school district does not believe and i don't believe the law allows once set of students to prohibit another student from expressing himself or herself," said attorney for the school district Michael Levin.

The student editors have an attorney also and he hit back.

"As a school board under the first amendment you are not allowed to pick winners and losers. And that's exactly what this policy attempts to do," said the school editors' attorney.

The policy subcommittee is sending the new policy on to a full school board vote on Thursday night and they're expecting fireworks there. The student editors tell Fox 29 if the policy gets the green light, they will likely fight the district with their attorney.

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