Orange County High School of the Arts


An Orange County high school newspaper and yearbook adviser who stood up to the school's administration when it threatened to censor the paper has been dismissed, prompting accusations of retaliation.

Konnie Krislock, adviser at Orange County High School of the Arts, got a letter June 20 saying she had been dismissed – less than a year after Krislock had a very public dust-up with Principal Sue Vaughn last fall, according to the Student Press Law Center…

The story began last September, when Vaughn tried to stop publication of the student newspaper, Evolution, because a story about the school's new food services vendor described the company, Alegre Foods as a "Christian-based company" whose purpose is to serve God, according to a report in the Orange County Register.

Krislock said the school – a public charter school – was illegally censoring the student press. Ultimately, the school administration allowed the paper to publish without pre-approval.

But the controversy didn't end there. A few days after the school backed down, Ralph Opacic, the charter school's president and executive director, issued a statement defending administrators, arguing that charter schools were exempted from the law defining student rights.

That in turn prompted state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, to sponsor SB 438. The law would make provisions regarding free speech for public school students specifically applicable to charter schools. It has been unanimously approved by the state Senate, cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee and will go before the full Assembly soon, the Student Press Law Center reports.

Earlier this month, Krislock received a letter indicating she was no longer needed at the school. She has decided not to put up a fight…

Yee, meanwhile, is urging the Orange County Board of Education to consider revoking the school’s charter.

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