The same old censorship, the best yearbook photo, and politically correct comedy: This week’s Fresh Powder Report

Stuck in a censorship loop:

The Playwickian student paper at Neshaminy High School, PA recently endured censorship from school administration after staff members made the decision to omit the name of their school’s mascot – the Redskins – from the paper. School leadership gave direct orders to the editors of the publication to use the full name in reference to an article covering a talent competition called “Mr. Redskin.” This is not the first time censorship of this nature has happened at Neshaminy – the school’s new policy is to give administration the final say when it comes to approving or denying stories that run in the paper as a response to past circumstances of similar nature. Even though administration specified the mascot name must be used in the article, the staff chose to publish the article with the mascot’s name redacted – only to have school leaders remove the article from the Playwickian’s website immediately. Attorney advocate Adam Goldstein with the Student Law Press Center claims that this is an unconstitutional act perpetrated by Neshaminy’s administration, and could potentially lead to a lawsuit in federal court.

Government gets involved in discrimination policy:

The Obama administration has issued a directive dictating that every public school district nationwide must allow transgender students to use the bathrooms they decide best align with their gender identity and expression. This declaration is signed by Justice and Education department officials, and will explain what schools can do to ensure that their students will be protected from discrimination. Schools that do not abide by this administration’s new decree could face lawsuits, or even a loss of federal aid.

The best-looking picture in the yearbook:

A seventh-grade student in Louisiana with muscular dystrophy has two pictures in his middle school yearbook – one picture for him, and one picture for his beloved service dog, Presley. Presley accompanies Seph to school everyday, and yearbook adviser Sonya Hogg couldn’t imagine leaving such a significant member of the student body out of the yearbook. Presley, a 6-year-old golden doodle, is trained to help Seph by doing things such as switching lights on and off, fetch shoes or clothes, and run for help if Seph falls and is unable to get up. Hogg describes Presley as “another very quiet student,” and believed it just made sense to include the dog in the yearbook because he’s a part of the school.

College publication comedy vs. political correctness:

This past year alone, at least two college publications have faced disciplinary action after publishing “humor” pieces that were deemed offensive; at UCSD, funding for all student publications was cut after one of those publications released an article mocking students requesting safe spaces on campus, and contained racial slurs. Michigan Technical University’s student newspaper, the Daily Bull, published a satirical piece titled “Sexually Harassed Man Pretty Okay with Situation,” and contained an offensive list meant to explain how to tell if women are “interested” in men, including items such as “she only screams a little.”  The Bull was placed on probation for two years and funding for the publication is being withheld. College campuses are shining examples of free speech – but when “free speech” is used as an excuse to cross comedic boundaries and offend, rather than spread useful and relevant information to the masses, has it gone too far? Is that truly utilizing freedom of speech? Most papers have adopted political correctness policies of some sort in order to avoid this kind of offensive comedy, though some comedies and writers believe any type of restriction – no matter how necessary – is still an infringement of their first amendment rights.

These things also happened this week:

Wondering what the best way to get out of a speeding ticket is? Get cast as the lead in a television show with cliffhangers, apparently.

In a national test of technology and engineering literacy administered by the government in 2014, girls outranked boys when it came to proficiency scores.

Scientists are trialing psychedelic drugs as a means to treat depression – groovy.