"Lodi Unified School District is very pleased that the process we have been engaged in regarding the Bear Creek High School newspaper has resulted in an article that meets legal requirements. We know that these experiences regarding controversies and debates help prepare our students to be successful as they pursue future efforts of higher education and career. We take our responsibility to our community very seriously and we will always be diligent in our efforts when student safety is at issue."
The District has determined that it will rely on the promises Mrs. Duffel’s personal attorney has made on her behalf regarding the content of the article and on that basis will not prevent its publication. However, the District does not agree with all aspects of the legal opinion provided by the attorney and is disappointed that an independent review was not provided as agreed to by the District and Mrs. Duffel. Moreover, because the District has been denied an opportunity to preview the article, the District does not endorse it. Because we are charged with the education and care of our community’s children, we will always be diligent in our efforts to provide a safe learning environment for all students, while complying with our obligations under the law.
“The District and Mrs. Duffel mutually agreed that an outside attorney of her selection would render an independent review of the article to both the student newspaper and the District. The District has now been informed by that selected attorney that he is serving only as Mrs. Duffel’s and the student’s attorney and is not independent. Mrs. Duffel’s attorney has begun his review of the article, and does not preliminarily believe that it violates the Education Code. The attorney has promised to render a detailed opinion on behalf of the teacher and the student reporter by April 30. The District looks forward to receiving this detailed analysis and will consider it in good faith.
The District is disappointed that the attorney identified by Mrs. Duffel will not act independently, however the District remains committed to considering all information that has a bearing on this issue. The District has no wish to unnecessarily interfere with publication of any student article, and remains committed to complying with the Education Code and protecting students consistent with its legal obligations and within its appropriate legal boundaries.”
"Lodi Unified School District supports the rights that our students have to freedom of speech. The District has not censored or stopped publication of the Bruin Voice, or any article originally scheduled to be published on April 23, now scheduled for May 3. The District is legally required to ensure that publications do not violate Education Code section 48907. This law requires districts to prevent the publication of obscenity, defamation, and incitement. It also prohibits the publication of content that fails to meet the professional standards of English and journalism. The District will legally intervene to ensure that any school related activity complies with the law. We are working cooperatively with Mrs. Duffel, the teacher who oversees the Bear Creek High School student newspaper. After refusing to allow the District to see the article, she proposed that an independent attorney review the article to ensure compliance with the law. On April 18, the District agreed to this course of action. In addition, Mrs. Duffel acknowledged that the District’s concerns raise some interesting points and that the students have more work to do. The District remains committed to the agreed upon process.”