On Jan. 29, Don Lugo students all around campus had a chance to divert their attention to Student Press Freedom Day because of the controversial issues posted all around the quad. This student is proudly voting yes for the topic "Should graffiti be considered art?" This event was a remarkable opportunity for students and staff to have their voices be heard. (Photo by Saslaya Baca)
Don Antonio Lugo High School

Don Lugo celebrates first annual Student Press Freedom Day

There was an overwhelming amount of students who voted on the controversial questions that come with a successful Student Press Freedom Day event on Jan. 29.

The Quest News student reporters gave the students of Don Lugo a voice by asking them to vote on nine thought provoking questions that yielded interesting results.

According to the Student Press Law Center,  Student Press Freedom Day is “a national day of action when we celebrate the contributions of student journalists and highlight the need to support their independence without censorship or threat to their advisers.”

Quest News gave the entire school the opportunity to voice their opinions on controversial questions, including, “Should athletics money be distributed evenly? Should transgender people be allowed to serve in the army? Should graffiti be considered art?”

As students rotated from poster to poster in the middle of the quad, students rushed to give their vote, while others even sparked lighthearted debates with their friends. The event garnered outstanding participation with a total of 1,179 votes collected.

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The most divided question was, “Can art be separated from the artist?” Even though it had the least votes — 103 total — students were torn on the issue as 45% voted yes, while 55% voted no.

The least divided question among students was, “Does the dress code affect girls more than boys?” — with an overwhelming 93% yes vote to a measly 7% vote no over 125 total votes. But voting on controversial issues was just one way Quest News reporters engaged students in the awareness of Student Press Freedom Day.

In front of the Associated Student Body office was a handmade 11 x 3.5 foot poster of a world map that Quest News staff recreated from the Newseum exhibit in Washington D.C. to represent where the press is free around the world.

The poster showed all of the countries that have a complete free press, partial free press, or no free press.

Anthony Winslow, Quest News Editor-in-Chief shared his thoughts on Student Press Freedom Day.

“I think students needed to understand the privilege they have in a country that offers them a free press, while not all countries have that right,” Winslow said.

The two-month project idea came from adviser Annette Deming.

“When I attended the Washington DC National Journalism Education Fall Conference in November, I had the opportunity to visit the Newseum one last time before it closes for good,” Deming said. “They had a Press Freedom exhibit that offered visitors from all over the world an opportunity to have a voice. I thought it would be a great exhibit to bring back to Don Lugo.”

Students loved voting on issues that may not be discussed in a typical class, evidenced by the massive amount of responses given. Quest News hopes to make the celebration of Student Press Freedom Day a yearly event on campus.

Don Lugo students vote on nine controversial issues on Student Press Freedom Day. (Image courtesy of Quest News)