Gutterman authors “Censorship of Tully student offers an inadvertent civics lesson”
Roy Gutterman, associate professor of magazine, news, and digital journalism in the Newhouse School and director of the Tully Center for Free Speech, authored the Syracuse.com opinion piece “Censorship of Tully student offers an inadvertent civics lesson.” Gutterman, an expert on First Amendment law and freedom of speech, explained how the case of Tyler Johnson, a senior at Tully High School, is a prime example of censorship.
Johnson’s first-person narrative piece addressed his experience growing up gay, prompting Principal Mike O’Brien to tell Johnson that the essay could not go in the monthly newsletter. Gutterman explained how this violated the free speech rights of public school students, as demonstrated by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer.
“Tyler’s story offers a civics lesson about unreasonable censorship in schools. Ironically, the principal’s attempt at censorship backfired. If the censor thought this profile was inappropriate and did not want people to read it, suppressing it had the opposite effect. A senior profile that might not have generated much of a look is now national news with a special investigator on the case. Now, lots of people will likely want to read it and come to their own conclusions,” Gutterman wrote.