My Thoughts on High School Newspaper Story on Student in Porn Industry


Yesterday we dealt with the story of a student newspaper at Bear Creek High School in California wanting to publish a story about an 18 year old student who works in the adult entertainment world. The school district is stopping the story, citing it could be obscene, etc. You can read more about the story HERE. We had the journalism teacher from the school, Kathi Duffel, on our show to discuss why she thinks it is a good idea to publish the story. Heated discussion ensued.

When I asked Mrs. Duffel the intention of the story she cited free speech, getting the student’s side of the story out there, and something about “art”.She thought it was important to give the student a voice who has been the target of criticism and rumors.There is no one who is more in favor of free speech and allowing other viewpoints than me but is this the place to have this discussion, in a newspaper designed for 15-18 year olds?And more importantly, doesn’t the school and the teacher have a greater responsibility in this matter?

The amateur porn industry is one can that is very destructive to to young women, this is not debatable. Young women every day see the amateur porn industry as an easy way to make money with little consequence which is dead wrong. The particular student said she performs in adult entertainment to help pay rent and other expenses.

I could see if the purpose of the story was to show how this is a real life issue that affects students and young people close to us, people who fall into the trap of performing in porn thinking they make an easy buck but that it has far graver consequences, and thus should NOT be a path taken. That’s a poignant lesson that I’m sure the district would have no problem with sharing. However when I pressed Mrs. Duffel as to the intent of the story, that didn’t appear to be the case.

I just can’t understand how a teacher doesn’t feel responsibility to definitively tell this girl…and the rest of the student body…that getting involved in the porn industry is wrong and get her help. Instead she does what she thinks is noble by “allowing her story to be told.” Bullcrap. More is expected of a teacher in my opinion. Teachers have a responsibility to help a kid going down the wrong path whether that be drugs, crime, getting into the porn industry, etc. Every good teacher or coach I ever had believed that it was important to steer kids toward doing the right thing and away from the wrong thing. The good ones I had got their hands dirty and did the tough work.

If a kid was dealing drugs “to pay rent and other expenses”, should the teacher step in and take a definitive stance that this is wrong? Or should they simply publish a story talking about the student’s situation so we can all feel empathy for them thus glorifying it in a way?

If a kid was stealing to make ends meet, should a teacher not step in, teach this kid a hard lesson, and discourage the rest of the student body from doing this?

I think a high school, public or private, is more than just an institution where ideas are to be shared. Putting kids on the right path in life should supersede “free thought” for kids at the impressionable ages of 15-18. I believe most teachers feel responsibility to do this, and thank God they do.

Again this is a student newspaper, a product of the school itself and should align with the principles of the mission of the school which should be to produce fine young men and women. This is not the New York Times or Washington Post. Those are private business entities where the topic of women and their involvement in the porn industry can be shared and discussed. Schools, especially high schools, have a deeper responsibility.

ROCKY BOIMAN