The Society of Professional Journalists Colorado Pro Chapter and Colorado Student Media Association strongly condemn the firing of two Regis Jesuit High School journalism advisers and the censorship of student journalists over an opinion column published in the now-retracted winter edition of the student magazine.
In the column, students followed the abiding standards of responsible journalism to argue in favor of keeping abortion legal in the United States.
Spurring this debate, in a publication affiliated with the Catholic Church no less, is well within the spirit of the Society of Professional Journalists’ preamble. We believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy.
The retaliation Regis Jesuit students and teachers were subjected to by school administrators is a chilling example of what happens when those in positions of power fundamentally misunderstand the importance of free speech and a free press, both of which are enshrined in our country’s First Amendment alongside freedom of religion.
While we recognize there is little legal protection or recourse for student journalists at a private institution, the retaliatory actions and censorship by Regis Jesuit High School administration are unacceptable and contradict a fundamental principle of both faith and journalism: the pursuit of truth.
We stand in support of Regis Jesuit High School’s student journalists and call on school administrators to establish a policy that ensures student journalists can seek truth and report it without interference, censorship or fear of retaliation.