An Apology ?!?

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In our May issue, under the "Stupid Things Teachers Have Said" section we printed this: We also got lots of quotes regarding one English teacher; a quote from one of his reports reads "pupil needs to improve his speeling" and being an English teacher he even decided to make up a whole new word "positivism"
Then, in our June-July issue, we tried to print this:

We've got an apology to make here, it would seem that "positivism" is a real word after all, and this was kindly pointed out to us in an anonymous note through the registers containing a photocopy of a page from a dictionary. However, what we didn't say before is the exact quote and that is this

"Greater collaboration and positivism would undoubtedly be of benefit to the classroom environment." (taken from a pupil's report).

However the dictionary definition of positivism (taken from the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary) is:

"Positivism: 1. A system of philosophy elaborated by Auguste Comte which recognizes only positive facts and observable phenomena; also a religious system founded upon this principle, in which the object of worship is humanity considered as a single corporate being. 2a) Definiteness; b) certainty, assurance"

Which means that, although positivism is a real word, it was used totally out of context anyway. It was presumably used with an intended meaning of being positive about the class, i.e. helpful, participating etc, however its actual meaning relates either to absolute certainty or a philosophical system founded in the 1800's! You would think that the English teacher (who cannot be named) would have checked the definition before they sent the page from the dictionary to us! It seems to us that if the teacher had taken the effort to look through (a frankly rather large) dictionary to prove a point and show that the word existed, they should also have bothered to actually read the definition first.

However the school tried to censor the above text, with the reasoning being "[He Who Must Be Obeyed] thinks the teachers is too easily identifiable". We are ware that some of the students who have this teacher do know about the quote (and hence e-mailed it to us), however we argue that for the majority of the school this article does not identify the teacher, and it does not set out to be deliberately nasty to the teacher involved. Instead it should be seen as constructive criticism, - (he/she) pointed out a mistake in our journalism, something we openly welcome, but made a mistake in their accusations which we then tried to correct.

In response to this censoring Overmark issued the following statement in the paper:

"After the teacher Words of Wisdom last month it seems that we've got an apology to make. It would seem that "positivism" is a real word after all."

We wanted to make public the full details of this discrepancy, however the school has decided to censor the rest of this article from the newspaper.

What we can say is that the full details of this story have been available on our website for some time now, and won be going away.

At such short notice we can prepare an article on the pros and cons of censorship in the media, however that an issue we will be coming back to in the near future.

So, don forget all our stories, in their full and proper glory are available online AND they always will be, because the internet seems to be the only place where freedom of speech actually means anything.

(NB: If we're not back in September, don't send out a search party, we'll have been expelled!)

What the school didn't bargain for in its decision is that firstly more people visit the site than there are copies of Overmark produced. Secondly by using their censorship powers for the first time they in fact create more interest in what was otherwise a mildly-interesting story, causing even more people to come to the website and see what all the fuss was about.

Seeing as we're totally anonymous here on the internet, Overmark wished to take this opportunity to state its unequivocal opposition to censorship in any way shape or form. We are not happy with the schools decision, but were forced to accept as it was the only way the paper would be allowed to continue at all.

We will be looking at censorship in more detail in the next academic year.