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When high school students decide to print unpopular opinions or controversial news stories in student publications, it’s sometimes tempting for administrators to throw freedom of speech out the window and start handing out sanctions or admonitions not to do it again. 

This has apparently not been the case for Junction City High School’s Fine Arts and Human Services Academy Principal Doug Sallee. It’s for this reason he received special recognition Monday night at the Unified School District 475 Board of Education meeting.

According to Executive Director of Communications for USD 475 Mat Droge, Sallee has been presented with the Kansas Scholastic Press Association’s Administration of the Year Award.

President Elect of the KSPA Kristy Nyp, who also teaches journalism classes at Manhattan High School, arrived at the meeting to present Sallee with his award during the meeting.

She said the award is presented to high school administrators whose actions support the Kansas Student Publication Act and the First Amendment, offer adequate financial support for student media, understands the place of journalism in secondary schools, encourages academic and professional development for students and journalism teachers, and offers personal support for students studying journalism.

Twice this year, Sallee has made a point of being supportive to the journalism department when students chose to write editorials that were critical toward the school district’s administration. He told students that he would back them up as long as their publications remained ethical and accurate.

“We are so proud to have such dedication in the district,” Droge said. “It’s people like Mr. Sallee who really make USD 475 shine.”

Several others were recognized during the Monday meeting, including members of the JCHS girls’ track team that recently won the 6A state championship.

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