King students flex their freedom of the press

If you expect school papers to be full of fluff and sports, you clearly haven’t seen a copy of The King’s Page, created by students at MPS’ Rufus King International School, 1800 W. Olive St.

Today I came across a copy of the latest issue of The King’s Page, a publication I hadn’t previously seen. The first number in volume three has 12 black and white pages on newsprint.

The top story bears the headline, “Freshman manage fun and school” and explains how newcomers are adapting to life at the desirable public high school. There are also two pages of sports coverage and a features page.

But the teens flexing their freedom of the press in the paper aren’t sticking to lightweight content.

The other front page story — below the fold — is about the ways in which budget cuts have affected class sizes and options at the school. Certainly not everyone in the district would be thrilled with the subhead, “MPS policies have negative results at Rufus King International School — High School Campus.” But, there it is in black and white.

Other stories explore student opinions on the recent New York mosque debate, sexting in high schools and Internet predators.

The only “ads” in the paper are for candidates for school government. Sound familiar?

My favorite part of “The King’s Page” are the editorials, one of which expresses student disappointment over the loss of the school snack bar in a commentary that quotes from Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” It asks, “If the DPI was interested in serving healthy snacks, the entire MPS lunch menu needs to be altered. Why change the snack bar and not lunch itself?”

Another debates the question of whether or not “top rappers” really have formed a Masonic-like secret society. Yet another takes issue with the school’s dress code and argues that it isn’t in compliance with the district’s dress code rules.

Good for them and good for us.

There is plenty of pro-King coverage in the paper, but these young people are learning the value of a free and independent press. One that is allowed to speak freely — and responsibly — about the world around us.

It’s comforting to see the next generation learning these lessons.

And, they’re pretty darn good writers, too.

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