Big Spring High School Editor-In-Chief Speaks Out About Controversial Paper

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - A controversial editorial in the Big Spring High School paper lead to one teacher's resignation. Now the recently graduated Editor-in-Chief of The Corral is speaking out.

Marisa Nieto says the schools reaction to the class of 2010's final edition of The Corral was unexpected.

"I just couldn't believe that someone was making such a big deal out of such a little thing in my eyes," she said.

School officials stopped distribution after realizing a student wrote an editorial on legalizing marijuana, but Nieto doesn't see why it's considered inappropriate.

"It was just an editorial on legalizing marijuana and giving facts on it that's it," she said.

Big Spring residents NewsWest 9 spoke with were also unhappy with the decision.

"Why are we going to only provide them with a minimum of what the ideas and concepts of what journalism are?" Big Spring resident, Lisa Trejo, said. "So they can be prepared for what; half-way (knowledge) of how to do their job when they get into the real world, because their ISD wanted to protect them? That's not fair."

In the 1980's, the Supreme Court ruled public schools have the right to censor student papers and that typically happens at Big Spring.

Former journalism teacher Bill Riggs told NewsWest 9 he and then the principal usually approve the paper before it's printed; but this time around the principal didn't sign off.

"With graduation just around the corner and with everything, he probably got busy," Nieto said.

While she understands the slip up, she doesn't understand why Riggs chose to resign.

"Honestly I don't think he resigned," Nieto said. "Our journalism teacher has done so many things for Big Spring High School and so many things for the students I was shocked that he'd resign over something like this."

Nieto fears without him, journalism at Big Spring High School won't be the same.

She said she's seen journalism teachers come and go during her high school career, and even remembers when there wasn't a school newspaper.

She now fears the district may eventually get rid of the newspaper and eventually the program itself.