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Alternative Student Voice Will Be Heard After All

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An "alternative" newspaper produced by a group of students at the Sir James Douglas School (K-7) in Victoria, British Columbia, was recently confiscated by school officials and then released for distribution on condition that the school's name be removed from its masthead.

The offending newspaper (called The Children's Voice) was neither lewd, sacrilegious, or overtly political--it was simply unsanctioned.

According to its editor, 13-year-old Marisa L. Crowcroft, the paper was produced by a group of students who wished to prove they were as talented as students in the school's gifted, talented, and creative program, who produce the officially sanctioned monthly paper, Kids Only. Only students in the "gtc" program are allowed to work on this paper, Ms. Crowcroft said.

"We were given the gtc paper and I brought a copy home, complaining because I couldn't work on it," she said.

"My dad said, 'Don't complain. Write your own."'

"I don't want to criticize their paper. But I felt it could be improved on," Ms. Crowcroft said.

The paper was produced using hand-lettering on a master copy that was sent to a commercial photocopying service. Total cost: $70.

Among other things, it contained interviews with British Columbia's education minister, Bill Vander Zalm, and Randy Wagner, a member of the Canadian Olympic volleyball team. Using newspaper clippings, the staff wrote a story about the educational budget troubles of other countries, such as Holland.

The school's principal confiscated the paper on Wednesday, March 9. It was distributed last week.

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