News and Commentary

EXCLUSIVE: Public High School Censors Student’s Article Criticizing Safe Spaces

Last week, a student at a public high school in upstate New York was, fittingly, told his article addressing the dangers of “safe spaces” in school settings was “too harsh” to be published in the school’s paper, Spartan Expressions.

New Hartford High School junior Richard Falvo told The Daily Wire that he submitted a piece called “Why New Hartford Needs To Stop Labeling Classrooms As ‘Safe Spaces'” for his “Prime Time Politics” column in advance for approval, but was met with strong pushback.

“I write a column titledPrime Time Politics’ where I address my opinion about various political events,” Falvo told The Daily Wire. “This past week I decided to write about why I believe safe spaces are a threat to both the education of students and why they also hinder a teacher’s ability to teach. However, my school wanted nothing to do with my opinion. After multiple English teachers and faculty members at the head of the school discussed my article, they came to the conclusion that the tone of my article could be ‘too harsh’ for some students to read.”

In other words, Falvo’s piece suggesting “safe space” culture can seriously hinder learning by censoring ideas was censored.

“Safe spaces directly hinder a student’s ability to explore and learn new ideas of thought,” Falvo argues in the unpublished piece. “This is evident from the fact that avoiding controversial or offensive opinions leave a student who chooses a safe space uninformed about the opposing side of a subject.”

Oh, the irony.

In his piece, Falvo included the remarks of scholars and university officials who disagree with his thesis:

However, RaeAnn Pickett of Time believes that safe spaces are necessary in today’s society.

“Being able to know beforehand what experiences I should avoid and create an environment where I felt safe made it easier for me to share my struggles and move past them. Everyone deserves that opportunity,” states Pickett.

Another person who disagrees with me is Dr. Daniel Katz, the chair of the Department of Educational Studies at Seton Hall University. Dr. Katz believes that universities are not able to function without the use of safe spaces.

“It is not possible for universities to engage in academic inquiry without safe spaces of various kinds. The entire structure of disciplinary study is premised on the acceptance that certain subjects are off topic in various disciplines and that faculty have both authority and a responsibility to shape discourse in the courses along those lines,” states Dr. Katz.

The high schooler said he was eventually told the faculty “needed more time” to review the piece, an excuse to nix conservative thought from publication, according to Falvo. “This is ridiculous,” he said, “as they had plenty of time to assess the article.”

The censorship smacked of blatant bias against conservative thought to Falvo for a couple of reasons: The junior said he was met with hostility one other time, which happens to have been when he submitted a conservative piece criticizing the “Day Without a Woman” protest. Further, the student noted that left-wing groups on campus are free to post on controversial topics, such as war and gay marriage.

“What I find most appalling is that the school allows a club called SJE (Social Justice & Equality) to put canvases up around the school voicing their opinion on subjects such as war and gay marriage,” he said. “However, whenever an opposing (conservative) view is introduced, it is not allowed.”

The Daily Wire reached out to New Hartford High School administration multiple times for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.