As editors of the Classical Chronicle, we’d like to formally welcome the Purple Review to the Classical High School Community.
The Purple Review is a student newspaper run by Guidance Counselor Ann Cedergren, which published its first edition online yesterday at its Instagram, @classicalnewspaper. It is Classical High School’s official school newspaper.
An official newspaper, as established by the Rhode Island New Voices Act of 2017, is a school paper published under the supervision of a student media advisor (someone employed, appointed, or designated by the district). While official newspapers cannot legally be censored by their school’s administration, they are not protected when they advocate for civil disobedience or any violation of school rules. In contrast, student-run independent newspapers such as the Classical Chronicle are fully protected by the First Amendment (as the Supreme Court reinforced last year).
When given the opportunity in August 2021, we here at the Chronicle decided not to become the official school newspaper. By remaining independent, we are able to publish anything and everything relevant to our school community. Classical’s administration indicated to us that they would not have wanted controversial articles (such as this one) to be published, and that they hired Ms. Cedergren to be the newspaper advisor in the hope of having the school newspaper ignore such controversies.
The Chronicle was founded in 2019 by a group of concerned students, who wanted an outlet for covering Classical High School honestly and without censorship. At the time, the Purple Post, Classical’s leading newspaper, was under the supervision of Classical’s administration and was therefore refusing to cover student activism, in fact seeking to deliberately prevent it by reporting student activists to the school’s administration.
Our mission, as stated in the Chronicle’s bylaws, is to represent the views and voices of the student body without censorship. We provide Classical with an honest reflection of itself, including the activism that is central to Classical’s community and the controversy that is hard to cover. Part of sticking to that mission is remaining independent.
In response to the TikTok article published earlier this year, Classical’s administration told the Chronicle on October 14th, 2021, that the independent newspaper could no longer meet on campus (a right protected under the Equal Access Act of 1984). The Providence Student Union across the street generously agreed to let us use their space, where we have been meeting since October.
The Chronicle welcomes the Purple Review in the hope that it will do its best, given the circumstances in which it was formed, to accurately reflect Classical High School’s community. As Classical’s administration has consistently made it clear that it will not cooperate with us as an independent school newspaper, we believe it is fitting that an official newspaper exists so that the community can nonetheless stay informed. Additionally, we welcome any effort to cover the Classical community, an ambitious and noble goal, and we are glad the Review shares our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The Classical Chronicle is not going away. We will continue to publish articles without censorship, to tap the pulse of the students and teachers that make up Classical, not its administration.
Across the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a journalist. Politicians across America are discrediting good journalism, and it’s making the global community less welcoming to foreign correspondents. We look forward to seeing more great articles from the hard-working students at the Purple Review, but we’re going to keep publishing, because if a high school in the United States of America can’t have an uncensored newspaper, please tell us, who can?