Student voices can not be silenced

This past year has seen an increase in the rampant partisanship and hostility within the United States. With blatant attacks on American democracy and the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 has been a highly discordant year. Amongst the change occurring in the world today, students deserve a right to have their voices heard to help shape the future they want to live in. 

Student journalist rights were protected through the passing of California Education Code 48907 in 1977. With this, student publications were granted the same legal protections as their professional counterparts, the control and responsibility of the publication on the students alone.

Student press activism and involvement has a long history in this nation. During the Vietnam War, student publications faced backlash for the critical pieces they wrote about the US involvement. School administrators attempted to curb the freedoms and censor the thoughts of the students. Yet, the student publications did not let these attempts deter them.

This issue went to the courts, and the final rulings of cases helped the students in their fight for freedom of speech. The 1969 US Supreme Court Case Tinker v. Des Moines held that students did not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” 

With these protections in mind, the Panther Prowler seeks to report the facts from a student perspective. We always seek to report with the utmost integrity and honesty. Our duty as a publication is not to sensationalize or distort reality for our own benefit. Our goal has always been and continues to be by reporting the news. 

With controversy and divisiveness dominating everything from Congress to school board meetings, many different perspectives will emerge, but it is our job to report the truth without fear. The protections given to us by Education Code 48907 allow us to cover controversial issues without fear of censorship or repercussions. 

As a completely student-run publication, the Panther Prowler strives to elevate the voices of our student body. This year will be one of change and rapid adjustment as the entire student population returns to in-person classes for the first time since March 2020. In a time of so much change and adversity, it is important that our student body has the voice that it rightfully deserves. 

The student editors of the Panther Prowler are single-handedly responsible for the content and maintenance of quality journalism in this publication. Thus, we adamantly reject any partisan or political agendas of our adviser or school administration. Despite all the challenges we have faced and will continue to overcome in the near future, the Panther Prowler will always be dedicated to reporting that the student body and community is entitled to.