NATIONAL NEWS

District sued over axing of student paper after LGBTQ issue

Mar 31, 2023, 8:52 AM

FILE - Former Viking Saga student newspaper staff members Marcus Pennell, left, and Emma Smith disp...

FILE - Former Viking Saga student newspaper staff members Marcus Pennell, left, and Emma Smith display a pride flag outside of Northwest High School in Grand Island, Neb., July 20, 2022. A former high school journalist is suing the Nebraska school district that last year shut down the school newspaper after it published an LGBTQ-focused edition. The federal lawsuit filed Friday, March 31, 2023, names Grand Island Northwest Public Schools and its superintendent. It claims the shutdown of the student paper at Northwest High School was unconstitutional. (McKenna Lamoree/The Independent via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(McKenna Lamoree/The Independent via AP, File)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A former high school journalist and the Nebraska High School Press Association sued Friday over a school district’s shutdown of the school newspaper after it published an LGBTQ-focused edition.

The federal lawsuit claims Grand Island Northwest Public Schools and its superintendent violated the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment in May when it bring the newspaper back in digital form.

“It is hard to find words for what it felt like watching people who were supposed to be supporting our education instead silence us for covering issues impacting our lives,” Marcus Pennell, the former student suing the district, said in a statement. “I was crushed.”

An email message left with the school district’s superintendent, Jeffrey Edwards, was not immediately returned. Edwards last year called the shutdown “an administrative decision.”

Saga newspaper staff were informed of the newspaper’s elimination three days after printing of the June edition, which included an article titled, “Pride and prejudice: LGBTQIA+,” on the origins of Pride Month and the history of homophobia. It also included an editorial opposing a Florida law, dubbed by critics as “Don’t Say Gay,” that bans some lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity and

A May 22 email from a school employee canceling the paper’s printing services said it was “because the school board and superintendent are unhappy with the last issue’s editorial content.” Some school board members publicly stated their objection to the Saga’s LGBTQ content.

The lawsuit also states that Pennell, who is transgender, was told in March 2022 that he and others could use only names assigned to them at birth in their bylines and that they could not list their pronouns.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the district violated the law as well as unspecified damages. Grand Island is a city of about 52,300 residents about 150 miles (241 kilometers) west of Omaha.

National News

FILE - Emergency personnel arrive to evacuate people at a mass shelter, Sept. 2, 2021, in Independe...

Associated Press

No prison for a nursing home owner who sent 800 residents to ride out a hurricane in squalor

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana businessman who sent more than 800 elderly residents from his seven nursing homes to ride out Hurricane Ida in a crowded, ill-equipped warehouse pleaded no contest to 15 criminal counts Monday and was sentenced to three years of probation. Bob Dean Jr. also must pay more than $358,000 in […]

3 minutes ago

Associated Press

New Orleans civil rights icon Tessie Prevost dead at 69

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Funeral services will be held Saturday for one of four Black girls who helped integrate New Orleans public schools in 1960. Tessie Prevost Williams, known as one of the “New Orleans Four,” died July 6 following a series of medical complications. She was 69. On Nov. 14, 1960, Prevost Williams, along […]

25 minutes ago

A deer walks past a law enforcement blockade of President Joe Biden's beach house neighborhood, Mon...

Associated Press

Biden continues to recover from COVID-19, stays out of public view after ending his 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s “symptoms have almost resolved completely” from COVID-19, according to his physician, as the president on Monday remained out of public view for the fifth straight day. Biden announced he was ending his reelection campaign in a letter posted Sunday on social media. He also announced in a statement on […]

28 minutes ago

Associated Press

Plane crashes near the site of an air show in Wisconsin, killing the 2 people on board

NEKIMI, Wis. (AP) — A plane crashed in a Wisconsin farm field near the site of an air show Monday, killing the two people on board, authorities said. Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters responding to the crash in the eastern Wisconsin town of Nekimi on Monday afternoon found the aircraft fully engulfed in flames, the Winnebago […]

29 minutes ago

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks about his possible political future during an interview at the Ke...

Associated Press

Gov. Andy Beshear endorses Harris amid speculation on whether he’s in the running to join the ticket

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday he spoke with Vice President Kamala Harris soon after she became the prohibitive favorite to lead the Democratic ticket, and said his state’s progress “should be a model for the country” as speculation swirled around whether he’s in the running to join the slate. Beshear […]

52 minutes ago

Associated Press

Largest trial court in the US closes after ransomware attack, California officials say

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The largest trial court in the country was closed Monday after a ransomware attack shut down its computer system late last week, officials with the Superior Court of Los Angeles County said. The court disabled its computer network upon discovery of the cybersecurity attack early Friday, and the system remained down […]

1 hour ago

District sued over axing of student paper after LGBTQ issue