A school teacher is fighting for her job after being suspended for allowing a column promoting acceptance of homosexuals to run in the student newspaper.

Student Megan Chase’s pro-gay comments appeared a January edition of The Tomahawk, the newspaper at Woodlan Junior-Senior High School in the American state of Indiana.

At issue is whether Chase’s opinion column advocating tolerance of homosexuals was suitable for a student newspaper distributed to students in grades 7 through 12 (ages 12 to 18) and whether newspaper adviser Amy Sorrell followed protocol in allowing the column to be printed.

“This is a real threat to quality student journalism.

“An adviser can be removed for not having censored a perfectly legitimate story that there was no legal reason why it shouldn’t have been published,” said Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Centre in Arlington, Virginia, reports the AP.

School officials say the issue isn’t concerned with the US Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech but with a teacher’s failure to live up to her responsibilities.

They contend Sorrell should have alerted Principal Ed Yoder to the article because of the sensitivity of the material.

“The way we view it is the broad topic of homosexuality is a sensitive enough issue in our society that the principal deserves to know that it’s something the newspaper is going to write about,” Andy Melin, assistant superintendent of secondary education and technology, told the AP.

Sorrell has been placed on administrative leave and the school district has recommended she be fired.

A public hearing is scheduled April 28th, and the school board expects to vote May 1st.

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