By Margaux Stehle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2022
SOUTH BAY, CALIFORNIA — On January 12, a school in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District (MBUSD) took down a poster put up by a group of student activists about rising COVID-19 cases at their school.
The poster cited a state-sponsored website with the number of COVID-19 cases in schools and the MBUSD's information on a student's right to remain at home.
Dawson Wong, a high schooler at a MBUSD school, helped create the posters. In his design, he included a petition asking the school to move classes online following winter break, when many students had been traveling.
In an interview with TPF, Wong said, “After putting the posters up, a vice principal came to talk to them and asked for their names and they also wanted to know who gave permission to do so.” Following that interaction, every poster that Wong and his peers had put up was taken down.
Sami Campana-Gladstone, Teens for Press Freedom Media Relations Director, commented, “The censorship of the student activists in Manhattan Beach is a blatant infringement of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free expression: your rights don't end at the school house door.
"As public school officials are state actors, they do not possess the right to arbitrarily silence students who are advocating for themselves and their school community.”
Charlotte Hampton, Cofounder of Teens for Press Freedom added, "This is an important incident because it illustrates the politicization of virus safety. Telling people how many cases of COVID-19 there are in a given area -- or school -- shouldn't be taboo. Teens for Press Freedom stands behind Wong and his peers' right to disseminate truthful information."