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Courage, Compassion, and Action

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Illustration by Lynn Fong

Illustration by Lynn Fong

Illustration by Lynn Fong

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We’d bet you (Sage student body) don’t know we have a Revolutionary on campus! We’re sure some of you assume that journalism and activism are a thing of the past, no longer a problem of our generation. But the reason it’s no longer a problem is that we are losing the courage to speak up.

“I want another generation of people your age that change the world.” Sage’s very own Konnie Krislock, newspaper adviser and student rights advocate told a packed house of open-mouthed student journalists gathered at Cal State Long Beach.

“I have to stand with the students,” Krislock said, “That’s my job. Everyone here has my email and phone number. So don’t go into a meeting with administrators without me there.”

Those of you who have seen Krislock around campus might know her for her reputation of being a scary old lady sub for mostly English classes. But in reality, she is so much more.

Because of Krislock’s long illustrious history of being fired from high schools for defending press freedoms for students, there is never a dull moment when we as a newspaper and yearbook staff find ourselves somehow forced to be around her, congregated as though she were a magnet for young minds.

“Journalism is the only program that dares to publish what students write from day one.” Krislock said. And dares is truly the key word there. Krislock, as well as the rest of the newspaper staff, must always be daring in what we do. Because despite the Leonards Law, which protects private school students and to some degree gives them the right to free speech under the First Amendment, there are still the horror stories.

There’s OCHSA charter high school, where Krislock was fired for standing up for a newspaper staff who wanted to publish an article reporting on the Christian-based lunch program that was soon being instated at the school.

There’s Orange Glen High School, where Krislock had to speak up for students’ rights to publish an article about a principal cutting off “I love boobies” wristbands for breast cancer awareness. And then even more stories than you can count.

So we have to have courage, and we have to be bold. If there’s anything you as a student body need to know about the mission of Publications Staff this year, it’s this. We want to have courage. Courage not only to write stories that start discussions, but also courage to listen to what others have to say, and courage to take criticism. Courage to accept 350-word letters to the editor. Courage to look at the inner workings of our school and our community to see if there needs to be anything changed or improved.

Of course, in the sage words of our self proclaimed “old as ditto” newspaper adviser who seems to have some life left in her yet, “I’m teaching courage, to stand up for what’s right. At so many schools, students get whacked down for doing what the mission statement says you should.” Krislock said.

So of course, we’d like to compel the community to listen to Sage’s own mission statement and really think about it, hard: “We inspire in our students a love of knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge creatively, compassionately and courageously throughout their lives.”

(for the staff’s take on student press freedoms, refer to The Bolt #1, August 2015)

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Courage, Compassion, and Action