Oshkosh student speaks out about school newspaper censorship

Local News

An Oshkosh high school student is fighting back against what he says is censorship.

When the student noticed that the school’s assistant principal wasn’t showing up to work he and a fellow student wrote a story about it in the school newspaper.

He says 20 minutes after the story was posted online, school administrators took it down.

“All of a sudden the nameplate is gone from his door, his office is empty, I haven’t seen or heard from him in three weeks, so naturally rumors are starting to spread,” says student Brock Doemel.

That’s what led him to write the story.

He says a school official told him in confidence that the assistant principal had been placed on leave after an incident where he locked all but two of the school’s bathrooms one day in February.

The story stayed up less than 20 minutes before the school’s principal, Jacqueline Kiffmeyer, had it taken down.

“I was like, okay, they’re just waiting for any possible legal liabilities to pass over then we’ll be able to publish it again,” says Doemel. “That’s what I was expecting. I feel like that would’ve been a reasonable response.”

Instead, Doemel says principal Kiffmeyer pulled him out of class on three separate occasions and asked him to reveal his source.

Oshkosh’s superintendent says taking the story down was the right choice.

“Anytime you’re dealing with any type of things that would infringe upon the rights of others, as a public employee, I do have to implement anything and put in protections for those individuals,” says Vickie Cartwright.

March 6, two days after the story was published, Doemel put in a records request with the district.

The district just responded to his request Wednesday, but he’s hoping their dialogue will change things.

“Make any policy revisions to prevent anything like this from happening in the future,” he says. “And also prevent any disciplinary action from happening to my newspaper advisor.”

Doemel says they will be paying the $138 fee for their records request Thursday.

Allegedly, assistant principal Nelson locked the bathroom doors because of vandalism.

But principal Kiffmeyer says the bathroom lockout was a miscommunication between the custodial staff.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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