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Adviser to student newspaper faces suspension over refusal to censor name from story

The adviser of the student newspaper at a Los Angeles High School is facing a three-day unpaid suspension from her job after refusing to remove the name of an unvaccinated school librarian from a story published by student journalists, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

In November, the award-winning student-run news website of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, the Pearl Post, published a story naming a librarian who had refused to comply with the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate. The school is named for the slain journalist Daniel Pearl.

In December, the librarian asked Post adviser Adriana Chavira, a former journalist, to remove her name from the story, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which prevents medical professionals from revealing patients’ records without their consent. Chavira declined. The students found the librarian’s name newsworthy because the school library was closed during her absence.

Last week, she was issued a three-day, unpaid suspension.

“It’s definitely frustrating and disappointing,” Chavira, who is appealing the suspension, told the Times “I love journalism. I like the work I do. I love the school. I mean, I could not imagine working out anywhere else.”

Students relied on legal advice from the Student Press Law Center that the paper was within its First Amendment rights to publish the name.

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