Red Tide, Vol. II, No. 3 [Issue #7], November-December 1972
We Don’t Lose All the Time
[By Michael Letwin]
The RED TIDE‘s second lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court on Monday November 20th. This suit is a different suit than the one that challenges the rules about prior censorship and prohibitions on sale.
This suit came about when a student at Hamilton High, David Hammerstein, was stopped from distributing Vol. II, No. II of the RED TIDE on campus. The principal, Josephine Jimenez, stopped David on the grounds that since the RED TIDE had an article on birth control article, it was contrary to the State Education Code relating to sex education. This was in fact an illegal action, as the State Code mentions classroom situations only, not material put out by students for distribution on campus.
David immediately called us, and we in turn called Rowan Klein, an ACLU Lawyer to call the principal and inform her that she could not legally stop distribution of the paper. Rowan Klein called the principal twice, and both times was hung up on by her. It was at this time that we realized we would have to take more drastic action.
When the case was first brought to the Superior Court, it was heard by Judge Wenke, for he is the judge that you go to if you want a Temporary Restraining Order, the first most immediate procedure available. The judge said at that time that he was not prepared to rule on the matter, and told us to come back on Weds. the 22nd. It was on this day that we did get the T.R.O.
What this means is that the administration of Hamilton Hi cannot stop distribution of this issue of the RED TIDE and for all practical purposes that this issue cannot be stopped anywhere in Los Angeles. The trial date in this hearing has not been set as of this date.
The first lawsuit is presently in the California State Supreme Court, and we’re waiting to hear about whether or not they will hear our case. We took the suit there after being denied an appeal hearing in the District Court of Appeals.
In this lawsuit, a major issue that we have been fighting is our Constitutional rights of free association and privacy. The defense (School Board) has submitted interrogatories (questions) which state that they do not believe that the RED TIDE is a student run newspaper, but rather that Cynthia Hummel, the plaintiff, has nothing to do with the paper, [and] that it is published and distributed by groups outside of school, having nothing to do with school. These statements are backed up with no facts.
The defense, while supposedly testing their theory, tries to get the plaintiff to answer questions such as “what is the name and addresses of everyone who has ever worked on the paper,” “names and addresses of everyone who has ever donated money to the paper,” [and] “who conceived of the name ’RED TIDE’ .”
These questions are irrelevant to the fact that the Board of Education rules are both unconstitutional and illegal. Whether or not the RED TIDE is owned and published by students (and it is) is of no consequence, when considering the rules that we are challenging. We believe that if the schools are to be true educational institutions, instead of the farces that now exist, all and any material should be allowed, nay encouraged on campus.
Today, December 3rd, this case was heard in the Superior Court, and many of the questions were approved by the judge to be answered. However, because we feel that this is another very basic constitutional issue, we are appealing this also, now to District Court of Appeals.
[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]