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A Matter of Principal

South High's image-conscious leader offers students repeated lessons in the stifling of free speech.

When Stryyssar himself was at South, back in the early 1970s, spontaneous debates about drugs, race and the war in Vietnam weren't uncommon in Denver schools. He remembers strolling into a math class and joining in a lively discussion of an anti-war protest that had taken place that morning. He considered it part of everything he was learning.

"We talk a good game about preparing our children for life, for the larger issues that are out there," he says. "To have discussion of this issue summarily squelched because it doesn't fit the agenda or convenience of the top administrator strikes me as in complete conflict with the notion of education.

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