Draudt vs Wooster

De Zainae Roberts, Diana Garcia

A school newspaper “Wooster Blade” addressed the school board’s policy of underage drinking. In which they said the board violated the policy, by showing favorable treatment to athletes that were caught drinking. The newspaper mentioned two of their students by name and stated that one female admitted to drinking at a party. That same female was also quoted in the article.The board intended to punish her. Her and five other violators. They all received community service. Once the article was finished it was sent off. The newspaper was approved by The Blade’s faculty adviser, so the district printed 4,500 copies of the edition. The newspaper was circulated throughout the school and community. It was ready to distribute on December 20, 2002. However the principal and District Superintendent believed the article was possibly defamatory to the female student quoted. As a result that issue of Wooster Blade was seized.

On January 9, 2003 the students sued the defendants, Wooster City School Board along with David Estrop, claiming they violated their first amendment rights to free press and freedom of speech when they impounded the paper. The plaintiffs, Darcie Draudt, Vasanth Anath,Tim Yaczo, and Kendra Oyer looked to get a restraining order after filing their First Amendment suit. The restraining order was denied but a stipulated judgement was issued. In which the parties agreed to release the December 20th issue of blade however it would have minor modifications. The modifications consist of the removal two offensive sentences in the article about the Board’s underage drinking policy. They released it on January 15, 2003. The plaintiffs seek to stop the defendants, the school board and David Estrop, from exercising previous review over or cutting any future Blade issues. In the end the court denies the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction. The Blade now is a public forum. It is entitled to greater defense from censorship and can only be censored if the content is obscene or vulgar.