LOS ANGELES – A picture of a vagina featured on the front page of Grover Cleveland High School's student newspaper Le Sabre has created quite a ruckus on campus.
When the paper hit the school on Valentine's Day, teachers tried to confiscate the issue, and principal Bob Marks has been fielding calls from angry parents. Marks lamented to the Los Angeles Times, “My phone’s been ringing off the hook.” The principal added that only one of the many calls he's received asked why the paper was confiscated.
The vaginal illustration ran under a pink a headline that urged readers to “Have a happy Vagina Day!” according to the Times. In addition, the four-page student paper, which serves a student body of approximately 3,700 students, included stories titled “Ending shame for nature’s gift” and “Rejected!!!!!!!”
Le Sabre's editor-in-chief, 15-year-old Richard Edmond, told the Times he was simply trying to raise awareness of violence against women. We also suspect that like many 15-year-old boys (and most heterosexual men), Edmond really, really likes vaginas.
Edmond told the Times that school administrators explained their actions by saying, “This [the vagina issue of Le Sabre] is not in the taste of the school; this is a high school, not Hollywood Boulevard.”
However, administrators are apparently unaware that California is one of seven states with laws that protect student rights with regard to free speech in schools. According to the Times, attorney Mike Hiestand of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va., said that students may publish whatever they please, provided that the material is not unlawful or "seriously disruptive."
Carrying things to an almost absurd degree, Edmond and other student supporters arrived to class on Friday wearing homemade t-shirts that featured the words, "My vagina is obscene." When Edmond and two other protesters refused a direct order to change their clothes, Principal Marks sent them home.
Seemingly, he is a man with no love for the vagina.