Issue 62, Summer 1996

In a continuing and costly saga, the Rib Lake, WI school district is still reeling from the censorship actions of its school board in 1993, although four of the seven members and two administrators have since been replaced. When school guidance counselor Mike Dishnow was fired for criticizing the school board’s banning of Judy Blume’s novel Forever, Dishnow sued the district for violating his First Amendment rights and won an award of almost $400,000 including his legal fees (Censorship News 61).

Now the courts have agreed with the school district’s insurance company that the latter is required to pay only the legal fees and not lost wages. The school district has taken out a nine-year loan in order to pay its part of the settlement which, with interest, will amount to almost $232,000. So far, teaching and administrative positions have been cut and a bus route dropped to cover some of the costs.

Rib Lake students and taxpayers are unfortunate victims — educationally and financially — of the school board’s attempts at suppression.