Minnesota H.S. Principal Kills Opinion Piece from School Paper

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(AP) A high school principal pulled from the student newspaper a senior’s essay that was critical of open enrollment and its effects on the boys’ basketball team, because it singled out a transfer student.

In his opinion piece, Dustin Hinz named a specific Richfield High School student as an example. Hinz contended the student was recruited to play basketball and that deprived some Richfield players of time on the court.

But Principal Jill Johnson said the article was unfair to the transfer student because it named him and didn’t give him a chance to respond in the newspaper’s last issue of the school year. She pulled the article on Friday.

“Reading through the article, this is not about someone’s feelings about open enrollment. This is about how this kid came into Richfield in his senior year and wrecked my basketball season,” Johnson told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

Hinz played varsity basketball for the Spartans, this year’s state Class 3A runners-up.

“When the impact of the transfer actually sunk in, our expectations clearly were disrupted,” he wrote.

Hinz said school security staff and teachers took copies of his article from students.

Johnson said she intends to redistribute the paper, the Spotlight, on Monday without the article. If Hinz passes out copies of the article, he’ll be suspended for three days, meaning he couldn’t walk in graduation ceremonies Wednesday, she said.

The principal said the Prior Lake student’s family was hurt by the article. The family had no immediate comment, the Star Tribune said.

In his article, Hinz argued that Minnesota’s open-enrollment system, which allows students to transfer to other districts, makes it too easy for coaches to recruit players.

Richfield basketball coach Jim Dimick said the Prior Lake student was not recruited.

The school’s newspaper adviser, Bruce Wiebe, said Saturday he found the article to be “persuasively written,” but agreed with the principal’s decision to pull it.

“The article Dusty wrote was an important one for high school athletics,” Wiebe said. “It was just an unfortunate editorial oversight that the [transfer student’s] name was left in it.”

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