The Missoula County School Board of Trustees on Monday night upheld  the suspension of Willard High School Principal Jane Bennett over the publication of an issue of the Willard Wire that was deemed obscene by MCPS officials.

Representing Bennett, Attorney Paul Leisher attempted to clarify the issue.

"The only thing we're here to decide is whether it was necessary to discipline Jane Bennett, the Pricipal of Willard High School for the what the students of Willard High School published," Leisher said. "The district has decided that really was necessary, we think it's fairly apparent that it wasn't."

Leisher went on to state the U.S. Supreme Court's long-standing definition of obscenity.

"The whole work must appeal to a prurient interest in sex,  it must portray sexual conduct, and specifically defined by the applicable state law in a patently offensive way, and it says, it has to lack serious literary, artistic, political of scientific value."

NBC Montana reports that in her response the district's legal counsel, Elizabeth Kaleva, said they were comfortable with the district's right to pull the paper.

"What we want to make perfectly clear is that Ms. Bennett indicated that she reviewed this article and the language and said it was OK," Kaleva said. "That is what we are saying was absolutely not OK and is the basis for our discipline."

All but one of the trustees voted that Bennett had violated the district's policy and all but one voted that the suspension without pay was appropriate.


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