This fiasco began when yearbooks went on sale at Glenwood Junior High School in Springfield, Illinois. John Lin, a student at the school, innocently signed the yearbook of his good friend, Andy Krisak. The phrase "bullshit motherfucker" was used within the message. The book was accidently left in a classroom, which gave a teacher, Mr. Greshaber, the opportunity to invade the privacy of the students and read the messages within the yearbook. This is heinous, but it gets even worse. The teacher, noticing the "offensive" language, brought the book to Vice Principal Phil Beauchamp, who confiscated it and meted out a punishment to the offenders. The punishment consisted of not only detention but a financial penalty of $20 to be paid as well, $15 to the parents of Andy Krisak. In the contents section of the detention slip, Beauchamp wrote: "John wrote a very inappropriate comment in another student's yearbook (bullshit motherfucker). Students were warned not to do this. John will have to pay $15.00 to the student's parents for defacing the yearbook." He then tacked on another $5 fine to pay for the ink used to black out the offending phrase. Krisak's parents refused to take the money, but Beauchamp is threatening even more discipline if Lin does not pay the school. Krisak's yearbook is still in the hands of Beauchamp. ROC tried to contact Beauchamp for his side of the story, but he refused to return three of our phone calls.
The incident at Glenwood Junior High School is another example of school administrators completely abusing their power. If Vice Principals like Beauchamp worried more about the education of their students rather than violating both their Fourth and First Amendment rights, maybe the youth of this country will actually learn something besides repression. It is nobody else's business what is written by a student or said between two friends. Krisak paid for the yearbook in full, and it is therefore his property. The school cannot punish someone for "defacing" property that is not their's; it is a violation of everything that this country stands for. Chris Kirkham, a student at the school, sums up the situation best: "Here we have a case of first degree censorship, and I find the school guilty as charged."
Philip Beauchamp & Carol Hubbardt
Glenwood Junior High School
R.R. #1 Box 66A
Chatham, IL 62629
no email address, sorry
To send messages of support:
John Lin: MrDiscoJ@aol.com
Chris Kirkham: Toolian462@aol.com
Andy Krisak: email@example.com