The usual high school paper is run by puppet lackeys of the administration. It avoids controversy, naughty language, and a host of other things foreign to the 4-H Club members the school is determined to mass produce. The only thing the staff is good at is kissing the principal’s ass. Let’s face it, the aim of a good high school newspaper should be to destroy the high school. Publishing and distributing a heavy paper isn’t going to earn you the Junior Chamber of Commerce good citizenship award. You might have to be a little mysterious about who the staff is until you understand the ground rules and who controls the ballpark¾the people or the principal.
Many schools do not allow papers to be handed out on the school premises. These cases are generally won by the newspapers that take the school to court. You can challenge the rule and make the administration look like the dinosaurs they are by distributing sheets of paper with only your logo and the school rule printed. By gaining outside publicity for the first distribution of the paper, you might put the administration up tight about clamping down on you. It might be difficult to explain in civics class when they get to the freedom of the press stuff. Your paper should have one purpose in mind¾to piss off the principal and radicalize the students. If you run into problems, seek out a sympathetic lawyer. You can get a helpful pamphlet from the ACLU, 156 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010, called Academic Freedom in the Secondary Schools” for 25¢.
Tell your lawyer about the most recent (July 10, 1970) decision of the United States District Court in Connecticut which ruled that the high school students of Rippowan High School in Stanford can publish independent newspapers without having the contents screened in advance by school officials.
The same info for underground papers applies to high school rags, only the price should be much less if not free. To begin with, you might just mimeograph the first few issues before trying photo-offset printing. It is very important to get the readers behind you in case you have to go to war with the administration in order to survive. Maintain friendships with above ground reporters, the local underground paper and radical community groups for alliances.