Hard News. Angry Administration. Teenage Journalists Know What It’s Like.


Mr. Spahr and Max Gordon, The Telegraph’s 18-year-old former editor in chief, created a new website — The Herriman Telegram — and republished the article. In January, news outlets in Utah reported that the teacher was under police investigation on allegations that he had sent inappropriate text messages to a minor.

In a statement, the Jordan School District, which includes Herriman High School, said it “encourages thought-provoking, informative and accurate reporting of all stories in our school newspapers.”

It isn’t only investigative reporting or stories on protests that have pitted student journalists against educators in recent months. Editors and reporters at San Juan Hills High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., caused a furor in March with a special issue of The Express called “Relationships & Sex.”

“We had five anonymous stories featuring personal experiences of students from diverse backgrounds and diverse relationships and sexual experiences,” said Olivia Fu, 18, formerly a co-editor in chief of The Express. “They opened up about what it was like for them in relationships in high school.”

In “Long-Term,” a girl describes ending up in an “emotionally abusive” relationship with a boy. In “Waiting Until Marriage,” a heterosexual couple explains why they have decided to abstain from sex. In “Gay,” a male student tells of ending up at a motel room for a sexual encounter with two partners. “Pregnancy Scare” goes into the fears of a sexually active female student, and “Bisexual” presents a male student who says, “I used to hate myself for my sexuality.” The stories were written by Express staff members, who gave aliases to the students they interviewed.

In an email to parents, the school’s principal, Jennifer Smalley, apologized for the “shock and dismay you felt when you opened up the paper.” The publication’s faculty adviser, Bill Kaiser, was put on paid leave. Out of concern for him, the students briefly took down the articles.


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