April 24, 2014

The Ledger

Lakeland, Fla., high school senior Abbey Laine wanted to write an article about medical marijuana for student magazine the Bagpipe. Her journalism teacher, Janell Marmon, told her she couldn’t do it, Greg Parlier writes in Lakeland newspaper The Ledger.

Frank Webster, who heads the school’s Multimedia Communications Academy, told Parlier Laine’s proposed article “does not fit our audience” and that “We are primarily about marketing and (being) a mouthpiece for Lakeland High and Harrison School of the Arts.” The school’s principal, Arthur Martinez, sided with the teachers, Parlier writes.

Floridians will vote this November on a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Parlier writes that Laine said the article “would not have taken a position on medical marijuana.” Laine has previously written about Syria for the Bagpipe.

Webster told Parlier the school’s communications academy is “not necessarily trying to turn students into journalists.”

Instead, the goal is to teach 21st century multimedia communication skills, he said.

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
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