Student journalist claims pushback after teacher strike coverage

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DENVER — Allegations of backlash coming from a Denver Public Schools student journalist. The high school senior says school leaders asked him to stop snapping photos from inside of his school during the teacher strike.

Thomas Jefferson High student Joe McComb says he felt push back from substitute teachers and school administrators. He is part of the student journalism program.

DPS limited access inside of schools during the teacher strike. Photos and videos form students were some of the only images that showed scenes form inside hallways, classrooms, and auditoriums.

McComb shared his photos and videos with Fox 31 and Ch 2 News on Monday night but he says administrators expressed concerns over him capturing and sharing those pictures and videos with local news outlets.

McComb claims school officials have been very supportive of his journalistic work in the past but for some reason he did not feel that was not the case this time around.

“It made me feel unwelcome in the school and that I was doing something wrong, when I was doing was reporting the facts,” added McComb.

Wednesday the school district responded to our request for comment on McComb’s story.

In a statement the DPS spokeswoman said:

“Students do have a right to express their views on what is going on inside their schools. We encourage student expression, but, consistent with Colorado law and board policy , we must also help our students understand that the right to expression is not unfettered. We expect all students to attend classes during the day and stay focused on their academic work during classroom instruction.

Consistent with that expectation, school administrators may prohibit videotaping or photographing events inside a school building if they determine that doing so disrupts student instruction, raises privacy concerns, or negatively impacts student safety.”

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