METHUEN — Funding for printing the high school newspaper was up in the air last month, and while students worried the change was in retaliation for certain articles that appeared in the latest edition, the school administration said money was never in jeopardy.
Students and at least one parent feared money was being cut in response to a controversial opinion article published in the fall edition of The Blue & White, Methuen High School’s newspaper, about student dress and behavior, and to a quote attributed to Principal James Giuca in a front page news article.
Giuca said that funding was not cut, only delayed amid a tight budget along with money for other clubs, and that his administration fully supported the newspaper. He told students, the paper’s faculty adviser and The Eagle-Tribune on Dec. 21 that funding would be available as of that day for printing.
“I said I can’t print it for you,” he said, recalling a conversation he had with the paper’s faculty adviser in December. “I don’t have the money.” But he said he spoke with her again a couple weeks later, shortly after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., about including a piece about the shooting in the next edition. Giuca told her he should have money freed up in time, he said.
“Printing the paper was never out of the question,” he said. “What probably happened, people probably said we can’t do the paper. That’s not true. It was just the timing of it.”
However, students said they felt the funding was pulled permanently after an opinion piece that criticized students’ dress and conversation habits drew complaints, and after Giuca took issue with a quote in an article about the high school opening this fall amid a major renovation project.