Benilde-St. Margaret censors student anti-homophobia editorials

Categories: GLBT

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Dear Catholic-school newspaper journalists: it gets better.
The editors of the Knight Errant knew things were going to get a little hot when their latest issue dropped last Thursday.

The student newspaper at the St. Louis Park Catholic school Benilde-St. Margaret was going to include a staff editorial condemning the Archdioceses' anti-gay-marriage DVD mailing.

On top of that, the issue would include an essay by senior Sean Simonson about his own recent experience coming out as gay at Benilde-St. Margaret.

Editors warned the administration, who didn't stop the publication. The papers were delivered to the school and the website went live Thursday. But by Saturday, school principal Sue Skinner had ordered the two contentious pieces removed.

The Knight Errant is pretty highly regarded among high school papers. On Saturday, when the stories were taken down, the paper's faculty adviser and editors were in Kansas City accepting an award at the National High School Journalism Convention, the paper's third national award in three years.

Skinner explained the removal of the articles in a short statement on the paper's website.

"This particular discussion is not appropriate because the level of intensity has created an unsafe environment for students. As importantly, the articles and ensuing online postings have created confusion about Church teaching."

Some of the paper's staffers aren't taking the censorship lying down. Bernardo Vigil, the arts and entertainment editor, started contacting other news outlets as soon as he learned of the article's disappearance down the memory hole.

Vigil spoke to City Pages this morning after getting kicked out of class for wearing duct tape across his mouth with the word "Censorship" written across it. He said other paper staffers are wearing rainbow clothing in protest.

"The people who said it was inappropriate for us to publish these stories are the same people who are perpetuating an atmosphere of homophobia on campus, so caving to the calls for censorship is basically showing solidarity with the view that homophobia is okay," Vigil said. "The articles need to go back online."



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