Letter from the Editor


Noma Kreegar, Editor in Chief

As a student who’s spent my time taking various journalism classes here at Blue Valley, the concept of free speech has never been an unfamiliar one.

You can say what you want to say, criticize what you want to criticize and publish what you want to publish.

That being said, you are not protected from the criticism or backlash your words will produce, as I — and the entire staff of The Tiger Print — have experienced.

This is not to say that the criticisms we have received — and will, hopefully, continue to receive — are not valued. Keeping an open line of communication between our publication and the students of BV has been a key factor in keeping the staff of The Tiger Print motivated and inspired to create engaging content.
Through criticism and evaluation of the content we have produced thus far, we have learned to consider the impact that our words will have on the student body.

It’s become overwhelmingly clear that words have an immense and nearly immeasurable amount of power. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech brought widespread attention to a growing civil rights movement in 1963. King’s words led to an upheaval in American society and called for an end to racism in the United States.

Shortly after, in 1965, Mary Beth Tinker and a group of students wore black armbands in protest of the war in Vietnam. When the school board was notified of the protest, a ban was placed over the armbands. Tinker and four other students were asked to remove their bands and were suspended shortly thereafter. The group of students filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the school board.

Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Tinker’s case was carried all the way to the Supreme Court. There, it was ruled that “students do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” according to the ACLU.

The same rights that King was granted in order to give his groundbreaking ‘I Have a Dream’ speech were granted to the student press, thanks to students like Mary Beth Tinker.

Nearly 20 years after the Tinker vs. Des Moines Supreme Court decision was finalized, newspaper students had their press rights stripped in the Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier court case.  

This decision supported the administration, saying that school officials have the right to censor student publications for legitimate reasons.

In response to the Hazelwood ruling, legislators in Kansas decided students should receive the same press rights as professional journalists. Kansas and many other states have followed in the path of this anti-Hazelwood trend to allow their student journalists more press freedom.

It’s imperative for students at BV to understand that although you may disagree with an opinion expressed in The Tiger Print, the school administration cannot suppress material purely because of controversial subject matter.

If you have concerns about something you read in the paper, exercise your first amendment rights. Come talk to the staff in Room 450, drop off a letter to the editor or email [email protected] To read some of the letters we’ve received, visit bvtigernews.com.