School censoring student writing on suicide

On Feb. 16, Mr. Mark Stickel was found dead in his classroom at my high school. It’s now a week later, the school is trying to return back to normal, but some things are still causing controversy within West York Area High School.
Why did Mrs. May, the principal, and Dr. Lonardi, the superintendent, not tell the students what was going on? I understand that the administration had a lot to deal with, but keeping the students in a “Code Blue Lockdown,‿ ignorant of the day’s events, probably wasn’t the best solution.
Counselors have been at the school to help students cope with grief.
It has been decided, however, that one of the most therapeutic things for many students has been somewhat banned. The banned method: writing.
Poems that express students’ feelings about the suicide cannot be published in The Inkwell, a literary magazine in the school.

Articles cannot be published in The Paw Print, our school newspaper.
Why is it that students are expected to share their feelings with counselors (complete strangers), but cannot write to share feelings with their peers, who probably have a better understanding of one another’s feelings?
One reason given is that doing such things will glorify the act of suicide and perhaps cause others to do the same as Mr. Stickel.
I find this argument to be absurd. Those who want to write the poems and the articles want to pay tribute to Mr. Stickel’s life, and want to get sad feelings off their chests.
It seems that many are quick to criticize Mr. Stickel’s choice to die inside of the school, but I think that the resulting actions of the administration are worse.
Jessica Grimm is a student at West York Area High School and a member of the Teen Takeover staff.

About Scott Fisher

I'm opinion page editor and blogging coordinator for the York Daily Record/Sunday News and Phone: 717-771-2049. Email: Twitter: YDReditpage.
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3 Responses to School censoring student writing on suicide

  1. Nathan says:

    That’s awful. When the whole Robin Winkis thing happened at Central, the teachers said we could talk about it because it’s in their contract that we can talk about it, but they ( teachers) can’t stop us from doing it, and they (teachers) aren’t allowed to chime in.

  2. Stephen Douglas says:

    My Dear Jessica, my sincere condolences to you & your classmates on the death of Mr. Sickel, & I do find it appalling that today’s leader’s can’t tell kid’s the truth right off the bat instead of passing the buck to some overpaid counselor’s. You & your classmates have every right to grow & mature just as they use to do year’s ago. I can only assume that keeping his daeath a secret & other thing’s like not allowing you to see war new’s on TV, & many other thing’s similiar, that all adult’s can somehow think they are protecting you. In this day of turbulance, nothing could be worse than to try & keep the true event’s from our young, instead of giving them a chanch to grow up & learn from those experiences. Only understanding from your parent’s & in this case school board’s will ever give you the opportunity of facing the unfortunate truth’s of today, & let you be the wiser of those thruth’s. GOD BLESS..

  3. kimberly Peters says:

    I was a student of mr.stickel the year before it happened. He was a wounderful teacher how cares about his students. I will never forget him. I remember ow I found out my mom came to work and told me.I was so upset that I just sat down and cried.He took up for me because people were teasing me. He is one of the greatest men on earth.
    Kimberly Peters.

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