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Posted on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 6:02 a.m.

The Squall: Dexter High School's student newspaper causes storm over stories

By Janet Miller

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Squall co-editors-in-chief Alex Everard and Brittany Martini show the newspaper in class Tuesday. Angela Cesere |

The Squall, Dexter High School’s student newspaper, has caused a storm of its own. 

The paper has become the center of controversy, with a group of parents now organized online to criticize articles about teen pregnancy, drugs and suggestive dancing. They're calling for tighter controls.

Coincidently, the Board of Education is in the middle of reviewing the school policy that covers student publications. The board's policy committee received four options, but a decision by the school board likely won’t come until the end of the summer.

The storm began nearly four weeks ago, said Dexter High senior Alex Everard, co-editor of the Squall. Since then, parents have called the school district and attended two school board meetings and a policy meeting to express their concerns. Parents and students on both sides of the issue spoke at Monday night’s school board meeting.


Copies of the most recent issue of the Squall sit in a bin in a classroom at Dexter High School.

Angela J. Cesere |

Controversy erupted after the student newspaper ran a story and pictures of a dance club in Whitmore Lake. The story addressed how students were abandoning school dances for private club dances, where suggestive moves such as “grinding” aren't restricted. The article addressed moves banned at Dexter High but allowed at Crome the Club, and carried a picture of a high school couple dancing suggestively.

Anonymous parents launched the Internet blog Clean Up DHS, linking readers to articles and photographs in the Squall and the Rostrum (a magazine insert of the Squall) that the blog authors found offensive. 

That included a 2008 issue where two students mimicked the iconic John Lennon/Yoko Ono picture from Rolling Stone magazine. Unlike Lennon, the students were clothed, but the Rolling Stone picture was printed. The blog also took issue with stories the paper has written on teenage pregnancy, drug use and drinking.

The Squall is not advocating bad behavior, Everard said. “We are reporting what is going on,” he said.

High school and teenagers are fertile ground for controversial subjects, he said. “I’d be concerned if there was nothing in a high school newspaper that was about inappropriate behavior. I go to high school. I walk the halls. There are plenty of inappropriate things going on in a building of teenagers. I argue for our right to report on them.”

While there was concern about the dance story, much of the criticism has focused on stories that ran two or three years ago, Everard said. “That makes it really hard to address,” he noted.

Dexter High Principal William “Kit” Moran said he supports the students and how the paper operates. Moran doesn't review the stories before they are published. While staff advisor Rod Satterthwaite edits them, it’s generally for grammar and spelling and not for content, Everard said. 

Still, that doesn’t mean adults don’t have input, Everard said. “Mr. Satt is the voice of reason.”

Until now, the paper has been governed by relatively vague language that gives the student journalists control over the paper. The school board is looking at four potential policies that are more specific, better written and cite case law, Moran said. 

The options run from strict oversight to the way the paper operates now, with relatively little restriction, Moran said. He favors the least restrictive policy, but the decision is up to the school board. The policy committee is expected to continue its review in May, he said.


From left: Co-photo editor Lauren Daugherty, co-editor-in-chief Alex Everard, and head designer Candice Wiesner discuss story ideas at an editor's meeting Tuesday.

Angela J. Cesere |

Parent Lynn Davis, who is not affiliated with the Clean Up DHS blog, said she favors better adult oversight of the student newspaper. It should follow the same policies that govern other media, such as the prohibition against student clothing carrying sexually suggestive images, she said. 

Davis worries articles about high-risk behavior could be perceived as promoting it and said student journalists may not recognize the power they wield with their audiences.

Still, Davis said, she understands it can be difficult to determine what’s appropriate and what is not. While some parents objected to a story on teen pregnancy, Davis applauded it. 

“It was a great story," she said. "I know it’s hard to nail down what most people think is OK.”

Student newspapers don't enjoy the same First Amendment rights as other newspapers, said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center outside of Washington D.C. 

“If the Wall Street Journal wants to publish an editorial that says smoking marijuana is good for you, they can do that all day long and the government can’t stop them. A school principal could pull that out without running afoul of the law,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean school newspapers don’t have any free speech rights. A governing body such as a school board can, through its policy, make school papers “public forums” that would limit censorship. Or they could make them part of the school’s curriculum, where heavy prior restraint could be exercised.

At Dexter High, the maxim that controversy sells newspapers is proving true. “Our website usually gets 500 hits a month,” Everard said. “This month, we’ve had 800.”

Janet Miller is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Thu, May 27, 2010 : 6:38 p.m.

The Squall DOES need oversight to protect from pitfalls, just like the Ann Arbor News. Don't kid yourselves into believing that students can appropriately monitor themselves without editorial supervision. The Ann Arbor News struggles with it, even with professional editors and staff. This is ample proof that students need competent oversight and advising. Please see this story for more real world journalism experiences:


Mon, May 3, 2010 : 8:56 p.m.

I am a DHS parent that has had 2 kids on the Squall staff over the last 6 years. I am so impressed with the kids, the paper (when I first moved to Dexter I thought that it was the town paper for a minute!), and the school. Yes! There are articles that make me wince. It is hard to hear about what the kids are saying and doing, but it is a fabulous springboard for discussion. I tell all my friends with younger kids, "if you really want to know what is going on at a HS, read the Squall!" Alex E. has been the model of professionalism thruout this whole ordeal. We are really proud of him. And I am proud of my 2 Squall students, I am proud of the paper and the administration the way they are handling this! Go Dreads! (Now, the mascot...that is something to complain about;-)


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 8:23 p.m.

Someone else told me about it. All I wanted to do was make a clarification to the story and point out that it was a little more complicated than it seemed. The Squall kids all work really hard and take their role as journalists seriously. Tell it like it is and come what may. The final part of my comment read: "No doubt the extra publicity made her feel worse. We can put it behind us now and move forward." I'm glad I finally got to finish my thought. Thank you.


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.

DHS Mom I can substantiate what you are saying. So can many others who were at the Policy Meeting a few weeks ago. A. told everyone there that the student asked them not to print her photo. It was already at the printer, so they decided to run it anyway.

concerned parent

Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 4:08 p.m.

I heard Mr. Everard say at the policy meeting that the girl did not want her picture used and she told them that before the paper even came out, but he said that the paper was already at the printers, and since the photo came from a public place they ran it anyway. He said it in front of the policy board and all of the people in attendance. So that part is true. He also said that they were going to remove it from the website, which they did. So that part is true, too. Everyone there heard it. Shouldn't be too hard to substantiate. I don't know about the other part.


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 3:50 p.m.

I understand that Mr. Satt and Kit Moran took care of it and it's off the web site.


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 3:49 p.m.

"That" photo (the close up from Crome) was put in there by a student who knows the girl. The girl complained to the Squall that she didn't want it in there, but it had already gone to the printer so it was too late.


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 3:48 p.m.

What I said was true. Ask the editors of the Squall what happened. You are doing a disservice to The Squall by being so quick to censor. The student journalists as a whole deserve better. A. is speaking for all of them and he needs to be more careful. I'll try posting it in sections so I can determine which part of it you are objecting to.

Jim Carty

Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.

Go Blue - I understand you feel that way, because you're seeing the edited version. It was originally more inflammatory. Now that they've come under scrutiny, they've toned it down. But there's also the overall issue that, yes, they're attacking the paper and the administration as promoting "inappropriate" content when they're doing no such thing. I strongly encourage you to take a few moments to read a few random issues of the paper. If you emerge with anything other than the idea that it's a very good student paper, I'd be very surprised.

John Q

Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 8:39 a.m.

Sounds like the students have done a better job of handling the criticism from the parents than the parents attacking the students stories have done when the attention is turned back on them.

Go Blue '02

Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 8:14 a.m.

The blog hardly attacks anyone. It's biased and the authors clearly want to promote policy #1, but I find nothing aggressive on there. It's a free country, man. People on this comment list are making attacks and it's embarrassing to me. You're making us look bad. I'm not into saying mean things to make your point. Could we all stick to the topic. Which policy do we want and why? I think the students need policy 2, 3 or 4. They seem like good kids and they are just telling it like it is.

Jim Carty

Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 7:15 a.m.

Kelly, it's obvious from you're previous comment that you've already made up your mind. You're either part of a group of parents who have anonymously attacked students and teachers from that blog - and that's what that blog is, not a collection of "helpful links - or you agree with that group. You're entitled to your views and values and to raise your children any way you like. That's the beauty of this country. You're not entitled to expect the school board to force those values on everyone else.


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 6:50 a.m.

Like Squall Mom said earlier (but her comments were removed?), there is more to the Crome photo removal. But they are kids and I have heard the school dealt with the issue so we can leave it at that. The policy board knows the truth and that is all that matters. I read these comments about that blog everyone seems so upset about. I found a lot of helpful links there. I prefer to research a topic before I form my opinions and not just embrace the first thing I hear. There are links to the Squall itself, to the SPLC, to NEOLA and just searching the web you will find court cases and loads of info about student press. You can read both sides of the argument and make an informed opinion. What's the big deal?


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 11:27 p.m.

P.S. If you don't like the blog, don't read it.; )


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 11:03 p.m.

Blog post removal: It was about a change of tone. It's not entirely matter of fact now (the water sprayer joke still makes me smile), but the attempt was made to tone it down--make it more informational. Adsense: It had been assumed that adsense would not give the blog an account because of the content, but then one day approval was granted (normally it's a week, but this took about a month to process, so we interpreted that as a "no"). The post about being rejected was removed because it turned out not to be true. Snippets page: it was pretty much all said at the first board meeting. Everyone got to tell the school board what they thought. It's up to the school board now. Nothing is going to happen until the layoffs, superintendent search, bus tier dilemma, budget issues, principal searches, etc. get taken care of. There's no need to be rude or argue or put inflammatory snippets anywhere. The page was discarded in the "tone change" sweep. Anonymity: I would like to point out that the students' response blog is also anonymous. At least to me. Maybe everyone else knows who Pidge, Nagolian, etc., are, but there is not even a "contact me" button. Maybe the names are nicknames? I don't know. It doesn't matter. Blogs are blogs, not newspapers. Comments: the comments were turned off because the points had all been made--repeatedly. The blog is old news. It's been said, it's been complained about, it's been defended. The board will make a ruling on the policy change sometime this summer. The blogmaster has other things to do. There is still a "contact us" button for anything pressing. Let's all move on. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the wind is blowing a gale (it is Michigan after all).


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 8:16 p.m.

I don't want to point fingers here, but something smells fishy... "Keep it the way it is" was the overwhelming leader of the poll, as much as 64% in favor, as of this morning. Nearly all of the comments on the page are in favor of the students, or at least supportive of them. Yet somehow, "Keep it the way it is" has become stagnant and "more oversight" is rapidly climbing? I have refreshed my browser several times, each time waiting several seconds before clicking. Every time, the vote count has increased by 5-10 votes, and the "restrictive" option is climbing by a percentage point every 10 minutes. Now, either there is a mass amount of people who hate The Squall and are refusing to comment, yet repeatedly voting over and over OR there is some form of fraud going on here. Will someone on the staff please look into this?


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 7 p.m.

KellyW stated "The controversial photo has been removed - wonder why? They knew it was inappropriate when they printed it." I would like to point out that the Clean Up DHS Blog has done some 'cleaning up' of its own. This blog was started just over a month ago, but on April 14, it was closed to outside comments and several of its previous posts were removed. One of the removed posts was a list of 'snippets' from past issues of the Squall. The lengthy list of quotes was taken from various opinion and editorial pages of past issues of the Squall, one dating as far back as a 2001 publication of the paper. The statements were taken completely out of context in this list, many of them losing the sarcastic and satirical tones of the original article, and thus appearing to have completely different meanings than the original authors had probably intended. I didn't think that having your comments taken out of context in this fashion was supposed to happen until you were appointed as a Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court and were facing Senate approval hearings! These young journalists might just be way ahead of their time. Another post that is no longer on the blog related to the bloggers' attempts to get Google Ads on their site. The statements were something along the lines of the blog being deemed to contain inappropriate material for advertising when all they had were links to the Squall articles, and the conclusion that the Squall was clearly inappropriate. The current blog site now does contain Google Ads and still contains links to various Squall articles, so the 'clean-up' of the blog's own posts since April 14 must have removed whatever material Google was deeming inappropriate. If I were to follow KellyW's logic, the bloggers' removal of some of their material was an admission that "they knew it was inappropriate when they" posted it. However, since I don't agree with this logic, I'll choose to assume that they had their own reasons for changing their posts and they are certainly entitled to do so, as is the Squall.


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 3:35 p.m.

Rollins: You - nor anyone else, can really say what Mr. Obama might think or feel. And truthfully - it really shouldn't matter. Our media is already saturated with political bias, which side it slants to depends upon who is reporting it. To even look at a political figure for journalistis approval is to sell out one's integrity. These kids at The Squall are actually practicing 'pure' journalism. They are telling the story and allowing the reader to decide. If anything - politicians WANT the story to be told in a way that benefits their agenda. Squall Mom: I don't understand why your comments are being deleted. They have been on topic, inoffensive and - to me at least - a valuable addition as far the perspective of a parent who has a child (I'm old - anyone under 25 is a child to me! :) ) on the paper. Perhaps the moderator can give you some sense of why your posts are being deleted.

Go Blue '02

Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 3:24 p.m.

Is the policy now the same as the one three years ago or have there been adjustments made?


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

The dance story is more complex than it has been represented. The subjects are sometimes controversial and that bothers people, but there is more to the story.


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 12:18 p.m.

Would you at least send me an email and tell me why I am being censored? I'm not allowed to comment?


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 11:48 a.m.

Perhaps Mr. Everard will soon learn the pressure and responsibilities of being an icon for free speech and student journalism. All praise aside, something very serious is happening right now. This is a new America, and it appears as though some elders are frightened by the confidence and maturity of Her youth. Choose your words carefully, Alex, because now you are speaking for a generation. As unfair as that may be, it seems inevitable at this point. Mr. Obama would be proud


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 10:05 a.m.

Antonio: I think you're ascribing your own views to what has been written. Ie - 'it's socially acceptable for kids to grope at school dances'. You seem to have read into that statement that the atricle is condoning groping and advocating a moral/immoral? behavior. I do not read it that way - I see it as a simple fact that this behavior takes place often enough that it has become the 'norm', the students do not see it as either moral or immoral. We tend to forget that - just because something is socially acceptable, it may not be personally acceptable to any given individual. What is socially acceptable is aways subject to change with time and the changing views/beliefs of society as a whole. As for the drugs, a previous poster (a student) stated that drugs are a factor in this (and every other) school. Whether or not an individual student has experimented, uses or as never used - they know someone who has. Putting the subject out in the open is not glorifying it - if anything, it can take away the mystique and secret 'coolness' that can be associated with using drugs. I am not trying to tell you that I think you're wrong for your views - I'm just adding a counter point to think about.

Me Next

Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 9:51 a.m.

Our School Paper was self-sufficient. We could buy a copy or not. Businesses could buy Ad space. It was individual owned & individual run. School Official would decide if their product could be sold on public grounds. It taught adult skills. Encouraged Reading, Writing, & Calculating numbers. It taught tough lessons when a loss of Market (The School) or loss of profit occurred. All complaints were initially directed to the Paper. Unresolved issues were welcomed by The School as mediator. We brought our papers home for our parents to enjoy as well. Civil Society was in order. An appropriate tool for communication. "Fliers" were purchased separately; first for the paper economy & school waste (better to sell part than none at all), second for controversial issues (not wanting to offend diverse customers), & last collecting valuable data about the market place. I can tell you a modest enforced dress code is all that's needed. "Common clothing" never solves behavioral problems. Any pictures that are animalistic would not get into "our Market". The purpose is social engineering or preparing for self-sufficiency? Yes, there is a lot of self-destructive behaviors in greater society but it's helpful Info that helps productive growth. For a small sum, any student could buy space for announcements or opinions on a test or even a teacher. Anonymous had a lot to say. The Paper was responsible to prevent abuse. In somewhat reality, it was their livelihood. Never cared for John Lennon & haven't read this paper, so this is my blind yet "general opinion". The lesson citizens must learn is "your rights end where mine begins". Only then do we have civil society & Our "more perfect union" is able to remain for all.


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 9:42 a.m.

Jim Carty said: Antonio, as a former journalist, I can tell you that there's nothing in those stories encouraging or endorsing the behavior that's being reported on. I read the articles too. They neither encourage nor do they discourage (as in shaming the people and the behavior they are reporting about). This is true journalism. I think people have forgotten that - at one time, the objective of a reporter was to simply report the information and the facts regarding an event, situation or activity and allow the reader to form their own opinion. We have become so used to seeing the journalist's opinion interjected into our news that when we do read or see 'pure' journalism we tend to assign a bias or slant according to our own views. Even where there is none. Putting aside the objections of those who don't like the stories, whomever has been instructing these kids has done a great job in teaching them basic journalistic integrity. I think the Honorable Sam Ervin summed it up best : "The heritage of a free society, then, requires of the publisher and broadcaster that they disseminate such information as will enable recipients to arrive at the truth and as will assist them in making decisions on issues confronting the country. The information must be accurate; it must be presented objectively and interpreted fairly; and it must, if an expression of editorial opinion, be answerable." --- taken from his introduction Georgetown Law Journal's Media and the First Amendment in a Free Society, 1973.

John Q

Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

"Look at the word choices -- describing the dancers as "sweaty, thrusting", describing how it's a "perk" that you can mix with older people over 18, etc." Yes, I read that. Are those inaccurate descriptions of what's going on there? To me, it looks like some of the parents are injecting their own personal biases into the interpretation of the story and making more of it than may actually be there. They also seem to have a distorted sense of what journalism is about. Articles in the newspaper are not supposed to be clinically dry reports about a subject. That wasn't true 100 years ago and it's not true today. It would be a real disservice to would-be journalists to force them to craft their stories in such a way. It's also clear from some of the comments by those parents that there's a strong "we must protect the children" undercurrent guiding the response to The Squall. I don't claim to be an expert on teens today but I've had enough exposure to them to know that the vast majority of them are far more knowledgeable about what's going on in their world than these parents want to acknowledge. Frankly, I find it bizarre that of all of the potential sources of "bad" information that parents might be concerned about, a group of parents would focus their energy on the school newspapers and its (in my opinion) fairly tame content. Really? That's your most pressing concern? That's where you need to devote your energy to "protecting" your children?

Jim Carty

Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 7:07 a.m.

Antonio, as a former journalist, I can tell you that there's nothing in those stories encouraging or endorsing the behavior that's being reported on. The people behind the blog and yourself want people to think there is, because you realize that all your other arguments for censorship have failed.


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 12:50 a.m.

David said: It is upsetting to see the parental instincts of a few conservative individuals spiral out of control. I'm sure all of this controversy is flattering, but as a retired professional journalist myself, I know that deadline is always breathing down one's neck. I'm sure this nonsense is becoming frustrating for Mr. Everard, Ms. Martini and their staff. I'd think that as a 'retired professional journalist' your instincts would tell you that labeling those parents as 'conservatives' or otherwise blaming conservatism for their behavior shows a lack of professional journalistic integrity. You of all people - being a retired professional and all - should know that you have associated and prescribed the actions of a few to being 'conservative'. Do you have knowledge that these parents are in fact 'conservative'? No - but you associate what you perceive to be radical moralistic behavior to conservatism. Funny - there are more than a few conservatives like myself that are okay with the paper. And I also know a few very liberal parents that are not okay with it. So should I associate the liberal's attitude regarding this as being associated with the liberal mind set that there's always someone else to blame? That when they find out their kid is one of those involved in the controversy it's the school's fault because they allowed the paper to run stories like that? I heard that one today! This is NOT about conservatism, liberalism or religion. It is about how the individual parents think and believe. And you'd be surprised at how people's values and beliefs about an issue can change when their child is involved.


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 12:07 a.m.

I posted a comment about all the hard work the Squall kids do. I don't know where it went. My son works hard and deserves to keep doing hard work.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 11:04 p.m.

I am the proud mother of a Squaller. I am always proud of my son and the work that he does. I am so impressed with the consistently good work of all the Squallers. They are definitely learning and it's a great group of kids. They work really hard and I think they should get more credit. It's nice that people are building "that" picture up to be a work of art or some sort of tribute to teenage freedom, and maybe it has become that, but it was put in the paper for a different reason entirely. My son said the person responsible didn't like the girl and put it in there on purpose. She complained when she found out what they were planning, but it was too late because the paper had been printed already. That was unfortunate, but Mr. Satt and Kit M. have taken care of it now. Get over it. My son's going to kill me, but we won't win this by fudging the facts. The truth will out and it's always best to face it head on. That photo didn't get published as a tribute to free speech or an essential element of the story, it was just kids being kids. What's the big deal. If parents weren't so anal about the dances, the students wouldn't have to go to Crome to have fun. Blame yourselves. Better on school grounds where we know what they are doing.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 10:09 p.m.

This whole article and most of the comments are all built around a strawman. The reporter quotes the Squall editor saying that the paper isn't advocating anything, it's just reporting on what's going on. If that were true, it's a valid point. The problem is that it's not true. Go look at the blog and the pieces they complain about. Their primary complaint is not that controversial topics are addressed; indeed, they complimented the teen pregnancy story for being well-balanced and thoughtful. The problem they mention with the Crome piece is not the topic but the fact that the article is written and presented to encourage students to go to Crome. Look at the word choices -- describing the dancers as "sweaty, thrusting", describing how it's a "perk" that you can mix with older people over 18, etc. The picture presented shows the people with a big smile. It's practically an advertisement. In other words, the problem is not with the news, it's with the message being conveyed, by the presentation and word choice. Why is the school paying for this message to be given to its students? Likewise, the problem with the drug piece is not the topic but the fact that the article is written in a way that makes dealing drugs look attractive. It talks up the benefits -- making money -- while minimizing the chance of ever being caught. Again, the problem is not the topic, it's the message. The school prohibits the wearing of clothes, etc that promote alcohol or drugs. So why should the school sponsor publishing and distributing 2000 copies of a message that talks up drug dealing? The parents also complain about a statement in an editorial which describes it as "socially acceptable" to sexually grope another student at a dance. Think about it: who is pushing their values and moral judgments onto other people in that piece? The Squall. Look. Read the blog and the pieces for yourself. If you don't think it's a problem, that's fine. As for me, I do think it's a problem. It doesn't mean the paper has to be shut down. Prior review and supervision by an adult with an eye to suitability and legal issues shouldn't be such a big deal; newspaper journalists have editors, too. Not long ago, the Seattle Times wrote an editorial describing why high school newspapers should have adult supervision and that it is dangerous to cede all publishing authority to minors.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 10:02 p.m.

Alex said: This brings up the quotation about our choice to remove the photo from our website. Detractors are attempting to paint this choice as admittance to wrong on our part. Sadly, this could not be further from the truth. In reality, the girl approached my Co-Editor and me and cited the BLOG as a reason why she wanted us to remove her photo. She claimed that because of the controversy and frenzy surrounding the link on the page "" (which has more than double our readership in website hits), she was being judged unfairly. These parents are doing more harm than they realize and I really wish they would realize that. When published in The Squall, the photo had meaning-- it was being used to validate a story and express the actions of our student body as a whole. On the blog site, it is being used to paint DHS in a "dirty" light, and is considerably degrading to this girl. THAT is why we removed the photo from our website. It was not a mistake to run the photo; I will take that to my grave. I think you made a very wise decision, however - I do hope you informed the Clean-up site about your reasons for removing that picture. It's really a shame that a teenager has been made to feel that she is the subject of controversy and gossip by adults that are so supposedly angst ridden about controversy and gossip that they had to start a website about it. Maybe you should start a new feature in your paper. "Word of the Day" - I vote HYPOCRITE for the first edition!


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

Agreed, David. Alex seems to be exemplifying what it means to be a well-known journalist, and he's not that well known... yet. I look forward to following this story, as well as the possible career of this kid.

David Akers

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:21 p.m.

It is upsetting to see the parental instincts of a few conservative individuals spiral out of control. I'm sure all of this controversy is flattering, but as a retired professional journalist myself, I know that deadline is always breathing down one's neck. I'm sure this nonsense is becoming frustrating for Mr. Everard, Ms. Martini and their staff. "The Squall is not advocating bad behavior, Everard said. 'We are reporting what is going on,' he said" This shows Alex to be wise beyond his years. I hope JSchool professors are taking note, this kid has a lot of potential. Already fighting for free speech and doing so with such insight. Alex, if you are reading this, please consider sticking with your craft. A lot of folks are trash talking the future of media, but with young up and comers like you out there, I have unbreakable confidence. I noticed Jim Carty coming to the defense of your paper as well. Good to have talent like that in your corner. Carty, keep tabs on this kid! From what I've read, he has all the characteristics of a protg in the making.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:58 p.m.

Being a student at dexter, and getting the newspaper each time its handed out I learn new things from it. How many parents had their children going to crome thinking it was like a school dance. thinking that they wouldnt grind. i'm pretty sure most of you didnt. yes nothing else happens besides that. they are providing you guys with facts that you should know. obviously you kid will lie to you. the drinking/drug articles. its telling you whats going on around your children in their everyday environment. you can say that the news paper is inappropriate and they shouldn't have this type of material in it, but think about reality here. your children are around it every single day. i know at least 1 outta 10 kids get in trouble for doing drugs or drinking in our high schools. will people admit to it in a survey no. just like every single school stuff like this will occur. our school isn't perfect. neither is any other. teenagers know how to hid things pretty good. we know where people go to smoke, deal drugs, everything during school. we all have at least one person in our phones who we could get drugs from if we wanted it. By articles like this being in the paper it gives people facts. people im friends with who do drugs have actually stopped because of some articles. Friends i know who went to crome wouldnt tell their parents about grinding there, and once they found out, they werent allowed to go anymore. these articles are actually helping people. Honestly how many of you parents knew about all of this going on. most of you didnt. most of you didnt have any idea without this newspaper telling you.

Go Blue '02

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 5:10 p.m.

Okay, I read the policies more carefully. The board should go with #4. or 2 or 3. If they keep things the same, then they would be able to edit things out "if they are not suitable for all students," whatever the H that means. As it is, the advisor gets to choose, but they can override him. Not good. So they should make it less restrictive. Did someone say that? Sorry if I'm repeating. Right?

mike from saline

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 4:56 p.m.

I'm curious about some comments made by amarie., regarding the owner of "Crome The Club". If she is correct, I'm wondering why this information was not included in this story by Janet Miller. I also wonder if it was included in the "Dexter Squall" story, and if not, why? Isn't it the duty of the press to inform? This strikes me as be- ing relevent!

Go Blue '02

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 4:56 p.m.

I read policy #5722. Apparently "the decision to publish or produce something shall be made by the advisor." Mr. Satt sounds pretty cool. If he's in charge of the content and gets to say what gets published, that's awesome. I think the policy should stay the same. I wish we'd had an advisor like Mr. Satt in high school.

Richard Glenn

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 4:36 p.m.

I think there's a difference between a high school paper and a college paper.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 3:29 p.m.

The parents need to stop being outraged by the paper and get outraged by student behavior. Killing the paper won't actually change the way young people are behaving. If you read some books like Generation Me then you'll get some sense of how bad things really are. The permissive attitude of most parents around here probably doesn't help. If you're some permissive parent with a "go do what you want" attitude then you've really got no right to complain about anything because you're the cause.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 3:20 p.m.

Who defines: clean??? Sure some stuff in the Squall may be construed as "inappropriate" but every person's measure of "appropriate" is different and incredibly subjective. Look at all the literature throughout history that was deemed inflammatory: "Brave New World", "1984", "Catcher in the Rye". You have GOT to be kidding me. "Clean up Dexter?" Who is behind this? When is the next book burning? I am a Dexter parent. A PARENT. Not a kid. While I do not defend everything in The Squall as "appropriate" I defend the constitutional right for it to be printed. If you think you kids are going to take drugs because of a Squall article, then look in the mirror because you obviously aren't doing a very good job at parenting. Blaming the school newspaper is a cop-out! It reflects what is going on -- it doesn't drive it. It seems to me some are taking their own guilt out on the nearest possible scapegoat. This has been repeated throughout history. It isn't constructive, instructive or rational. Every single time speech has been curtailed by others, the results have been disastrous. Isn't it ironic that those that seek to impose their brand of censorship upon others hide behind the very constitution that specifically demands the right of free speech and freedom of the press? What are you not getting


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:33 p.m.

The policy that's now in place is #5722. I don't understand why you are saying it's a no prior review policy or that it hasn't been formalized. Where are you reading that?

S. Workman

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

The Crome article author was the one who sparked controversy about the school dances and also made parents aware by writing the article. It sounds like the students werent prepared for success, and maybe didnt think that somebody might look at their article in a different way than they did. If The Squall is going to put it out there, then put it out there, no apologies. Don't apologize for educating people and don't try to fix the issue with an after the fact band-aid approach because a fellow student didn't like it. Arent newspapers used to a little tension and controversy?

Jim Carty

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:04 p.m.

Mark, a couple of thoughts... --- I never said Hazelwood doesn't apply. Hazelwood applies to any student publication. What I said is that it's beside the point, and it is. Even post-Hazelwood, the district can opt not to exercise prior review. --- I also never said the school district had opted for a no prior review POLICY. What I said was that the school district had opted not to exercise prior review of the paper. Regardless of what the stated policy is, the district has not opted prior review. Like the CleanUpDHS folks, you're getting caught in the weeds a bit. Regardless of what happened in the past, the Dexter School Board is considering a new policy. All that really matters is whether the board opts to formalize the policy that's in place now - no prior review - and support the students and paper, or opts to cave in to a small group of parents who want the board to decide what content is and is not appropriate, or opts to try and find some solution in between.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:34 p.m.

So Hazelwood does apply.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:33 p.m.

I think it is very sad and pathetic that these parents would put forth so much to shutdown a student newspaper. We need to encourage these young minds to be expressive and creative in thier high school careers. This should encourage parents and teenagers to have an open dialogue on what is really going on!


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

Jim, The Dexter School District has never opted for a no prior review policy. The Squall has been operating as a de facto open forum with no prior review based on the advice from the advisor and the SPLC--I'm assuming. The school district never gave the paper the authority to do so. Perhaps they will go with policy option #4 and do that. But up to date, the official school policy has maintained supervision and certain standards of appropriate content. If you're wondering where to read the current policy, I think you can go to the Dexter schools webpage and then the board of education tab. Then go down to "policies" or something and look for #5722. Hope this helps.

mike from saline

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:26 p.m.

When in doubt, I think it's best to err on the side of free speech. I like all that 1st amendment stuff. But, being as how this is Ann Arbor's Newspaper, and I have to assume that many [if not most] of these comments are from A2 area residents, I'm wondering if you re- member the University of Michigan's "code of conduct"? Or, the Betsy Hansen controversy? Or all those other speech code's that were impl- emented about 10-15 years ago, by Universties and Colleges, all over the country? Also, do you think the tax payer's from the State of Michigan should be forced to subsidize free speech [Ann Arbor Film Festival], they may dissagree with? It's been my experience that when people on the left talk about free speech, they're talking about there speech, not yours. Where am I wrong?


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 12:58 p.m.

I read the Squall regularly as it gives me fodder for conversations with my HS & JHS kids. Do I think that some of the articles go too far? No! If those stories provoke thought in me, then it might be something worth speaking about with my children. These young, budding journalists are getting this Dexter dad to think about some topics that I might not have otherwise. Semper Veritas!

Jim Carty

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 12:34 p.m.

Incidentally, Hazelwood is sort of beside the point here. Hazelwood established that school administrators CAN exert any control they wish over a school-sponsored publication. But it does NOT hold that they HAVE to exercise that control. Dexter, like many school districts, has opted not to exercise prior-review of the paper. The paper is produced by students and isn't reviewed by anyone in the school administration prior to its publication and distribution. The question at hand is whether that practice and policy will continue. The anonymous parents behind the CleanUpDHS blog would like to institute a new policy where the school administration reads the paper prior to publication and removes "inappropriate" content.

Jim Carty

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

At a recent policy meeting of the school board, the editor of the Squall explained that the photo was removed because the actions of the CleanUPDHS blog in drawing attention to the student had caused the student to receive some creepy attention from outside the high school community. The student came to the paper and asked if, in light of the ongoing controversy, the photo could be removed. The Squall staff had an editorial board meeting and decided to take the photo down, because the issue now was not the story itself, but how the girl had been unwillingly drawn into this controversy. When she went to the dance club, she consented to her picture being taken, but she didn't consent to being publicized as some sort of poster girl for inappropriate behavior by a group of anonymous parents. So in this small way, the folks behind have already succeeded in censoring the paper. The fact that the photo was taken down doesn't indicate it was inappropriate, it serves as a warning of what's to come if these people have their way - one group will be able to enforce their values on everyone else. But where does that stop? And whose values will be picked as "appropriate"? For anyone who has been to the school board meetings addressing this issue, it's very clear that this is a small group of people - most of whom don't have children in high school, many of whom are members of a very conservative church group - who are attempting to enforce their values on the larger community. They've even brought a clergy person to speak to the school board in favor of censorship. They are attempting to force the district to pre-read the paper and censor content that they consider "inappropriate" for high school students. This is part of a larger movement by some parents to enforce their values on Dexter schools, the first move was pressuring the high school to ban "provocative" dance styles from high school dances. So what happened? Now the dances are lightly attended and kids go to places like Club Chrome without any real supervision. It's been interesting to watch how this story has evolved. When the CleanUpDHS blog was identified for what it really is - a sad attempt by parents to anonymously attack high school kids and educators, filled with semi-truths and inaccuracies (for instance, Plymouth-Canton schools have no officially adopted the prior-review policy as the blog claims, they're still discussing it) - suddenly there's been little new content and those involved with the censorship movement have begun to distance themselves from the blog. The conduct of the Squall staffers and the educators at the high school has made me very happy that my children go to Dexter schools. I hope when they're old enough to go to high school, they have the passion and spark these kids do. The staffers and editors have been nothing but professional, addressing their critics respectfully, representing themselves and the paper in admirable fashion at these board meetings. They have also restrained others from identifying the people behind this blog, which they could do tomorrow if they wanted to. The Squall is a tremendous high school paper, filled with kids who are spending their time producing journalism and bearing responsibilities that will only help them in the future. These attacks have forced them to examine what they do and how they could do it better, and there's nothing wrong with that. The paper and everyone associated with it will be better in the long run. Hopefully the school board will see the gem that it has and give those involved with The Squall the continued freedom to do what they do best - put out a great paper. Hopefully they'll reject this attempt by a small minority to enforce their values on the community, because if they don't, I imagine it's only a matter of time before they're trying to ban "inappropriate" books and chance the science curriculum. And hopefully the parents behind CleanUpDHS - the poster Georgia above is one of them - realize there's something fundamentally wrong with anonymously attacking students and teachers, and the message they're sending in doing so is much more damaging than anything The Squall has done.

Alex Everard

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 12:15 p.m.

I thank you, John, for noticing something that some of our detractors seem to be missing. The picture had a valid purpose to the story -- it was showing exactly why students were leaving our supervised school dances (which outlawed "hands-on-knees" dancing) in favor of local teen clubs, such as Crome. The article contained quotations and examples of students claiming they were ditching school dances to "grind" at Crome. So, as a student journalist with the utmost regard for publishing honesty, I'm left wondering what parents would have liked us, as a collective staff, to do. If we didn't run the photo, readers would scan the article, which is filled with references to dirty dancing and students admitting to such dancing, then glance at the photos and see no such dancing going on. The story would not seem credible; the story would seem to be a fabrication (which it is not). This brings up the quotation about our choice to remove the photo from our website. Detractors are attempting to paint this choice as admittance to wrong on our part. Sadly, this could not be further from the truth. In reality, the girl approached my Co-Editor and me and cited the BLOG as a reason why she wanted us to remove her photo. She claimed that because of the controversy and frenzy surrounding the link on the page "" (which has more than double our readership in website hits), she was being judged unfairly. These parents are doing more harm than they realize and I really wish they would realize that. When published in The Squall, the photo had meaning-- it was being used to validate a story and express the actions of our student body as a whole. On the blog site, it is being used to paint DHS in a "dirty" light, and is considerably degrading to this girl. THAT is why we removed the photo from our website. It was not a mistake to run the photo; I will take that to my grave. To avoid being sucked into an electronic war-of-words, I will not comment further on this issue. I thank those who support The Squall and the voice of our student body. The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. - Henry Steele Commager


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 12:06 p.m.

Lets all face the real facts here. By the time kids are in high school they already know most of all the sexual stuff, drug stuff etc. By printing the facts in a school paper it is not going to turn these kids into different people. Talk the truth to the kids and maybe they will in turn choose to do the right thing. Remember parents, we were all teens once and I can remember dancing real close but it never led to anything else. Let the kids do their thing. If you don't want your child exposed to what is happening try home schooling them. The more you try to hide stuff the more the kids will want to know about it.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 11:58 a.m.

1988 Supreme Court case Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, the court ruled against student publications and in favor of school administration oversight. So, the students do not have a protected free speech amendment right or freedom of the press right. This is unfortunate because students should be able to openly discuss in the press what is important to them. They should be able to talk honestly about sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll.

John Q

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

"The controversial photo has been removed - wonder why? They knew it was inappropriate when they printed it." Why is the photo considered inappropriate? Not having seen it, from what I've read, it accurately captured what was going on in the "club".

Alex Everard

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 11:41 a.m.

Can someone please forward this to President Obama before his speech on saturday? I figure an executive order from the big guy will keep us free from censorship.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 11:03 a.m.

Glad to see a story from The Dexter Leader two weeks ago sparked A2 (dot) com to follow up. Really good comments here:


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

I can see why this could be such a controversial issue for parents. I am the parent of a young teenager myself, I do think many of us share the same concerns and fears about our kids and what they are doing when they're not with us. However - I voted that the student's newspaper be left alone. Based upon what I have read, these kids are NOT advocating bad behavior or poor choices. They are simply shedding light on what is really going on within the student body at DHS. If anyhting - I think the stories they have printed are a great platform for communication between the kids and their parents. What better insight can a parent have about what's going on in their kids' lives than the insight of their peers? There is a big difference between 'protecting' your children and 'shielding' them. You can only protect them by giving them basic values and teaching them to make good choices on their own. To do this you really do need to address the issues that they face every day. When these - sometimes 'creepy' issues can be discussed at home between the parents and kids - it empowers the kids to make good choices. Shielding them by NOT discussing things falls into the 'ignorance is bliss' catagory. Just because YOU don't talk about it doesn't mean it's not happening, and if it's happening and your kids are not getting GOOD information from you or learning how choices can effect them -- you can be pretty damn sure the information they are geetting isn't the best information. Do you want your kids making choices based upon bad information or 'peer pressure'? It's not always easy to broach certain subject with our kids... But it can be done and it's worth every bt of discomfort it may cause. And sometimes - if you get lucky, your kid will actually come to you when they have questions or are facing a tough decision. But you'll never know the things your kid is dealing with if you choose to ignore what REALLY going on in their lives and with those around them. I view that student paper as a tool - and a very valuable one at that. Arm your kids with knowledge and values, to do that you have to know 'your enemy' - what they up against - then you teach them how to rely on that knowledge and those values. And you try to have faith and trust that you have given your kids the ability to make good sound decisions.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 10:55 a.m.

Ok so here is my Christian "family values" take: if articles are being written to warn of dangerous behaviors and highlight the consequences of such behavior (like teen pregnancy) than I can't say that is a bad thing. However, what we really need are involved parents like "a2trader" who subscribes to the Squall to stay informed of the teenage climate. At that point, the parents need to have a concersation with their teen on what their viewpoint is, and let them know what is expected from them in that area. My kids will know that pre-marital sex is wrong, dangerous, and has very real life changing consequences, even if one doesn't end up pregnant. So, parents-dont stick your head in the sand about the world we live in, don't place a bubble around your kids, but don't stop being parents and instructing them on what is moral and right.

Tom Teague

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

Unfortunately, the students don't have a recognized RIGHT to publish anything they want, but they are fortunate to have an enlightened advisor and principal. Squashing the news is a fruitless exercise and generally is undertaken only by people who wish to keep reality at arm's length.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:58 a.m.

Get with it parents!!! This is 2010 not 1710! These students have a right and duty to report the news. And perception that they are advocating inappropriate behavior is your problem, don't make it theirs.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

Good Lord now we want to forbid, monitor or censor Kids point of view because of the controversial subject matter? Are these parents protesting our ordinary television commercials too, since those are full of sexual messages? Get real people, either plug into what your children are doing, thinking and saying - or don't complain when they become a statistic that you didn't know or realize what was up.

Momma G

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

I have to agree with Dave Briegel. Good journalists need to be encouraged. If parents would just talk to their students openly, they would teach them to be open & honest with them.

S. Workman

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:40 a.m.

I have read the Squall and there are a lot of well written pieces. But, I wonder if the kids who were highlighted in the Crome article are feeling very afflicted or comforted right now? Sounds like they are getting a lot of media for something they thought no one would read. Now the media has come back to bite them, and the school newspaper is trying to retract what they have done. So much for experimenting in high school. It seems like this will follow them for a long time. I'm all for free speech, but it looks like it could be detrimental for the kids just learning about it.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

Do these parents think that if it's not written about, these things won't happen?

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:22 a.m.

Gotta love that an "anonymous parent" isn't brave enough to step up to the plate and tackle directly these students who write stories that will be unpopular among parents and school administrators. I hope DHS and DPS protects and lauds these students and their publication.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

No one has complained about the pregnancy articles. I do not know why the reporter made that false claim. You need to read the student articles before you make an opinion. There are some good articles in the Squall. There are some that have crossed the line or are one sided. The paper is printed with the school's name next to the title, it is worked on during class time for class credit and distributed in the school as school approved media. That is where the problem lies. It gives the impression that the attitudes in the paper are approved by the school. It is either a school paper or a student paper and needs to be governed by the guidelines for the kind of paper it is. The controversial photo has been removed - wonder why? They knew it was inappropriate when they printed it.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:11 a.m.

As a parent of two Dexter High School students and one younger Dexter student, I actually SUBSCRIBE to the Squall because it informs me about what kids talk about. I want it in my home and I consider myself conservative. It has lead to many interesting, open discussions with my kids about cliques, drugs, homosexuality etc. I was happy to find out about the Whitmore Lake club this way, rather than after letting my kids go there (which I won't be doing). If I didn't have the Squall, I would be less informed about what goes on and what my kids think. Readers should also know the Squall has consistently been recognized at the national level among school newspapers. I would hate to see changes made.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:55 a.m.

Awesome: "I go to high school. I walk the halls. There are plenty of inappropriate things going on in a building of teenagers. I argue for our right to report on them. J-school recruiters should keep an eye on him. Wish my high school paper had been anything like this. Unfortunately, Grosse Pointe North hewed pretty closely to the "Clean Up DHS" bloggers' position on students' speech rights back in '03. I freelanced two op-eds: the first on Bush's disingenuous push to invade Iraq, the second on the Lawrence v. Texas sodomy decision. The former squeezed through, but the teacher killed the latter at the eleventh hour, citing underclassmen's squeamishness over teh gays. I still kick myself for not getting the SPLC involved -- would've made a great cover-letter story, though not as good as this one.

David Briegel

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:38 a.m.

I am so pleased and proud of this discussion. I expected the censorship crowd from the blog to be here. Instead there are wonderful, thoughtful comments of support for a fine program and a fine bunch of kids! Keep up the good work. America needs good, honest journalists more now than ever before! The only truth squad is a free press!


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

It sounds like these parents would rather stick their head in the sand than to know what is really happening around them. The students should be commended for reporting on relevant issues to their environment. It sounds like they are doing a fantastic job exercising their first amendment rights. What an amazing amount of real world experience they will have when they arrive at college, in both writing and producing a paper and in dealing with the pressures of censorship. The solution is simple: If you do not like what the paper has to say, THEN DON'T READ IT!!! It is truly that simple. I would be proud of my child for being a part of this group.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:19 a.m.

Reading these comments has reminded me of why I moved to this area 15 years ago. I had started to become bitter and was letting the econonmy and political climate start clouding my views. It's nice to see that there are so many sensible opinions. Not because they necessarily align with mine, but because they just make sense and are well thought out. Thanks.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:11 a.m.

Just because a loud minority has a blog does not make their opinions or their cause vlaid. Their idea of correctness or proper journalism is myopic and relfects a life and world view from a prior time.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:03 a.m.

Hi Janet. I don't know of a single parent who objected to the teen pregnancy story. It was well done. Did you actually speak with parents about that or was that a rumor you heard?


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8 a.m.

It's 2010 folks - kids get their info online from sources you cannot control. Methinks this is just a way for you to pretend you have some control over what your kids are exposed too... Please, your insecurities as a parent are boring - go find a real issue to fight!


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

"Anonymous parents launched the Internet blog Clean Up DHS" At least you know which students wrote the articles. The blog is scarier than the paper. How do you know who really is running that blog. Are they radicals that represent a very small group of people like the book burning (sorry meant banning) radicals that live in Howell? I read the online version and was very impressed. Very well written articles and very well organized. As far as the article in question is concerned, parents need to wake up and smell the roses. The club mention is nothing new. If anything parents should thank them for pointing out that club exists in the area. Parents can actually use the description of the club as a reason for not making school dances less restrictive. The club mentioned I believe is in Barnstormer. I have been in there and my number one worry would be getting out in an emergency not the type of dancing.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:52 a.m.

We have constitutional rights to free speech, and these kids are only expressing their own freedom. Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone! NO CENSORSHIP! Like it or not, they are young adults and will do what they want to when you aren't looking anyhow, so leave them alone before they do even more things you wouldn't approve of!

David Cahill

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:45 a.m.

It seems to me that the present process provides more than adequate safeguards.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:45 a.m.

Did we, as a society, all miss something and accidentally travel back in time to the 1950s? Maybe I'm the one missed something? Are the stories coming from The Squall advocating things like grinding and teen pregnancy? Or simply reporting that such things exist. Because it sounds like the latter. Are we trying to hide the world as it is from our children? Because I was under the impression that a major goal of education was to prepare students for the real world. Why is it that freedom of speech and expression only seems to kick in on your 18th birthday?


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

How about the parents do what they're supposed to do and put things in proper context rather than crying about it anonymously on the internet. All this controversy is teaching the children about is censorship. People are easily offended when they live in sheltered towns like Dexter and don't have real problems in life to deal with.

Deborah Wood

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:35 a.m.

If you get a chance, read the paper. You can link to it at It is laid out very nicely to read online. The articles are well written from the point of view of a teenager. In the issue I read, there was an article on a student who is pregnant as well as articles from other students who don't believe in pre-marital sex. I thought the reporting was well balanced for the most part. It is a typical student publication reporting on student life and activities, overall pretty harmless. I think it is important that the students have a place to voice their opinions.

Stefan Szumko

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

It's wonderful that at the high school level, there are parents who are still involved in their child's education. Unfortunately, parent involvement wanes as the years progress. Plus, I wonder how many teens would feel comfortable sharing their world with their parents if they knew their thoughts and ideas would be quashed by strict adherence to traditional beliefs rather than engaging in civil debate? Sometimes parents need to let the kids win even if it brings a bit of momentary discomfort. I think it's awesome that these students are telling it like it is rather than how their parents dream it to be. I'd prefer to know what really is going on in my worlds of my children, at least peripherally. It's better to know what issues they've got going on so I can do my best to foster their own decision making skills.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:24 a.m.

I'm sure these students have learned more about free speech because of the controversy presented by this very small group of "anonymous" parents. Kudos to these young journalists for standing up for what they believe in and for presenting themselves with such poise and professionalism. The Squall brings to light some troublesome topics, but they are reality. The discussions that have surfaced because of the articles are so valuable! Keep up the good work, DHS.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:15 a.m.

I think the parent group is riding the razor's edge on this one. One could argue that the students themselves have a better idea about the topics that interest their contemporaries and therefore should be left in peace as they develop their journalism skills and cater to their core audience. While I'm certain that the most of these parents are probably just very conservative, I think it is very dangerous to interfere with the learning process and how they (the students) go about discussing current and relevant topics.

Alan Benard

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:11 a.m.

And further, the job of a journalist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Good job, kids!

Phillip Farber

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:07 a.m.

"Davis worries articles about high-risk behavior could be perceived as promoting it and said student journalists may not recognize the power they wield with their audiences." Better remove the works by Balzac from the school library. Trouble in River City.

Alan Benard

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:06 a.m.

The Squall is not advocating bad behavior, Everard said. We are reporting what is going on, he said.I believe that prior restraint of student journalism is unwise unless the student prove themselves unworthy of maintaining editorial control responsibly. Nothing in this story indicates the Squall reporters and editors are failing to do so. That these young adults writing the truth about their lives causes discomfort in older adults is no good reason for the older adults to muzzle these journalists. I hope the school board will resist pressure to dictate matters of taste, and further give its qualified teachers a free hand to teach and maintain journalistic standards.When the mob starts editing newspapers, bad things happen.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:05 a.m.

In the words of Joe Strummer (R.I.P) 'you have the right to free speech as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it'. Keep up the good work DHS kids. As for 'Anonymous' parents launched the Internet blog Clean Up DHS, linking readers to articles and photographs in the Squall and the Rostrum (a magazine insert of the Squall) that the blog authors found offensive? Shame on you. Reasonable oversight by the school is probably appropriate, but to me it sounds like the Principal and staff advisor or doing just fine.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:05 a.m.

I think the parents complaining should spend a Friday and Saturday night out following their little Janey and Johnny around. I'm sure they have more to worry about than what sounds like some pretty good reporting from students. It's actually nice to hear that school newspapers still are around. I remember in my day we went underground when people made too much of a stink about the articles.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:02 a.m.

Anonymous blog and commentary are the "Cowards Way"...have an opinion? Stand up and be heard! We should be supporting students to be involved in journalism - it can be thankless work, pays terribly, but is one of the greatest professions and the 1st and greatest bulwark against tyranny and oppression when carried out under tight ethical guidelines i.e., not lying or taking opinion as truth...*cough-Rupert-Murdoch-cough*. So, I say let the students write their paper under the tutelage of a good editor...and parents, be HAPPY your student is involved in a school activity instead of mindlessly videogaming or flashing people on Chatroulette.

Ann Arbor Resident At Large

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:02 a.m.

These are the same parents who gather and want to ban books from schools and libraries such as Catcher in the Rye. The point of the school paper is to teach the kids about journalism, and a part of journalism is writing articles that may receive harsh criticism. I think these kids are doing an outstanding job especially since its opening the eyes of some of the parents on what their teens are thinking and doing these days. Some parents just want to wear their blindfolds and pretend these things aren't happening.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:01 a.m.

Does anyone know if this is how student newspapers are done in Europe? Because I want to make sure we do everything like the Europeans cuz they are just, like, SOOOO mature and sophisticated.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

Worth noting also is that very few of the parents protesting the paper are parents of high school students. They have young children. They are looking at this issue from the naive point of view of parents of younger students who think they can and will "protect" their children from the world rather than focusing on helping them grow in it.

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 6:45 a.m.

@SMIAVE. Your comment made me laugh, though I suppose we shouldn't laugh at this. It's unfortunate that some parents are fulfilling the stereotypes some people have about small town thinking. I fear these parents think that if they cover their children's eyes, they can shield them from the world. I hope they realize this only does their teens a disservice. And, yes I have two teens.

Evelyn Griffin

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 6:16 a.m.

It is very hard to vote on a "report" of a story I haven't read.I would like to read the article before I voye it. All of this publicity has certainly insured that the students will read the article even if reading is difficult for them. I think the kids already know about the info in the article, only the parents are now elightened about it. Maybe they should visit the "clubs" when they are in action and see for themselves...then work on the problem not the reporting. EvieG


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 6:13 a.m.

Ignatz: Perhaps you are to young to remember the 60-70's when parents tuned out or were getting buzzed with their kids. Well not sure that parenting style quite worked out. But then again there are a thousand a ways to parent and most of them are right but not all produce productive members of society.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 6 a.m.

By all means, lets keep the articles simple and stick to the facts; the world is flat, you can get pregnant by kissing and the earth is only 6000 years old...


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 5:35 a.m.

It's sad. I used to live in a country where freedom of speech was guaranteed by law. Of course it was a ruse, but the facade worked for most people. In Dexter, there seems to be no such self deception. You go parents! Quashing ideas and thought will certainly produce better citizens.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 5:17 a.m.

Maybe if some of the parents who are protesting ought to sit down and talk to their children and asked them what's important to talk about. I would think they would find that the subjects covered in the DHS newspaper are what high school students talk about. Heck, even my middle schooler (7th grade) knows how to look up sex offenders within our zip code to gain addresses, pictures of indiviuals to look out for. Open your eyes parents. You kids know a lot more than what you think they know, and have possibly come to terms about certain issues. Shutting your eyes to the content does nothing to foster good parent/child relations. Or, you could just do as you've done, let them learn it in the streets.