Halle Roberts is the editor-in-chief of the Har-Ber Herald, the school newspaper for Springdale High School in Arkansas. The 17-year-old student was suspended after she wrote an investigative piece criticizing the transfer of five football players to a rival school.
Players are not allowed to be transferred to a different school because they would like to play for a different team. They are allowed to transfer only for academic reasons. So Roberts got to digging. Her paper filed FOIA requests and received official information from the Arkansas Activities Association saying that the students were transferred for academic reasons. However, the students themselves said otherwise.
Roberts quoted one student in her paper saying:
"We just want to go over there because we have a better chance of getting scholarships and playing at D1."
Another student told Roberts:
"I just feel like it's better for my future to go out there and get college looks."
Soon after the report was published, the superintendent of the district, Jim Rollins, asked the teacher advisor for the school paper, Karla Sprague, to take the story down. She obliged.
Rollins wrote a letter stating that the piece was:
"intentionally negative, demeaning, derogatory, hurtful and potentially harmful to the students addressed in those articles."
Roberts, undeterred, is still working on a new edition of the story that includes the school's censorship.
Mike Hiestand of the Student Press Law Center had this to say:
And Halle Roberts, who dreams of being an ESPN reporter, stated:
People were impressed with Roberts.
Some had harsh words for the school's administration.
And most had high praise for Roberts and the other student journalists working on this piece.
And Halle Roberts herself closed by saying:
Fight on, Halle!