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June 6, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Susan Enfield elected to Student Press Law Center board

The departing interim leader of Seattle schools has been elected to a leadership position at a national group focused on promoting press freedom in schools.

Susan Enfield, who will start as Highline School District superintendent July 1, last week earned a three-year-term on the 15-member board of directors of the Washington, D.C.-based Student Press Law Center.

The selection comes about six months after the Student Press Law Center criticized Seattle Public Schools for appearing “poised to clamp down on its freedom of expression policy.”

The proposal it was referencing was included with dozens of other policy updates considered by the Seattle School Board in November. It would have given principals the authority to review high-school newspapers before they were published and would have allowed them to stop publication if they deemed material to be libelous, obscene or “not in keeping with the school’s instructional mission and values,” among other criteria.

Officials, who quickly backed off the proposal when KUOW and The Seattle Times reported on it, classified its inclusion as a mistake caused by trying to re-do too many school district policies too quickly.

Enfield, who had signed off on the group of policy proposals, said she didn’t realize the student newspaper one was included.

On Wednesday, Enfield did not address that controversy in a short email statement about her election.

“As a former high school journalism teacher I am honored to be joining the SPLC board and look forward to being a part of the important work they do on behalf of student journalists across the country,” she wrote.

In a news release, the chairman of the group’s board of directors praised Enfield.

“We hope her appointment underscores the SPLC’s commitment to working cooperatively with schools toward eradicating the censorship problem that so greatly diminishes the learning potential of journalism,” Mark Stodder said.

Comments | More in Education | Topics: censorship, high school newspapers, Mark Stodder

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