SLO High School principal censors student film, video

June 8, 2016

Paintbrushes by Cora


San Luis Obispo High School Principal Leslie O’Connor refuses to allow a film to be shown, despite over 400 signatures on a petition and over 2,250 views of the film on YouTube.

Every year, SLOHS graduating seniors have an opportunity to showcase their talents at the annual Senior Showcase, held at the PAC. Interspersed with announcements of academic achievements and scholarship awards, seniors play music, perform skits and dances, and otherwise leave the audience with a taste for their talents. The Senior Showcase, this year held on June 9 at 6 p.m., is open to everyone in the community.

This year, SLOHS Principal Leslie O’Connor decided to put his own design on the event by censoring one of the student’s submissions. CeCe Devaney, a high-achieving academic student who also managed to sweep both this year’s Black & Gold Track & Field Award and the 2016 Female Athlete of the Year award, submitted a raw and beautiful film about her experiences in high school.

Principal O’Connor told CeCe that he wouldn’t allow it in the showcase because it was “too provocative.” Fellow senior Summer Truschke started a petition requesting that CeCe’s film be included in the Showcase.


The petition, now closed with over 400 signatures – including some SLOHS teachers and staff –  was delivered to O’Connor’s office on Monday, June 6, requesting a response within 24 hours. At this time, O’Connor has not responded.

CeCe’s film artistically and poetically describes a high school experience that is easily relatable, while leaving the viewer with an uplifting message of the powers of choice and hope.

Guesses at what is “provocative” in the eyes of SLOHS administrators are numerous, including their reaction to a mention of loving both boys and girls.One SLOHS teacher wondered if O’Connor’s reaction to the film is in response to the mental health issues students face, and the school’s inability to effectively help students with mental health challenges.

Earlier this year, a SLOHS student committed suicide. The unnamed teacher wonders if O’Connor is trying to detract attention from the truth that teenagers – even those at his school – have problems that need to be dealt with.


just thinking

Well it looks as thou the administration scrabbled after the published situation and phone calls.

1. The last minute change of “nothing but live performances” rule was a lame attempt to CONTROL the upstarts. Why wasn’t this rule stated at the beginning of the talent collection?

2. Apparently contacting Marilyn Rogers (SLO Coastal Board Trustee) was to no avail.

3. Nothing like pushing Summer’s film to a small screen TV out from view of the main audience in the auditorium. (This will teach her to not stand up or she will suffer consequences ).

4. I’d say that the Principal/administration got exactly what they wanted. Just change the rules at the last minute. Passively punish those that complained. Give nebulas reasoning for the controlling decisions.

On second thought, sounds like SLO high school is preparing the student for future corporate life by leading by example. Think about it.


Or a future city manager.


Life is just like High School except there’s more money


Oh, and I wish that at some point a senior from SLOHS would be a gifted pipe organist (no pun) so they could rock the PAC with the nifty Fisk pipe organ…


Just want to point out how fortunate the central coast is to have cal coast news. I make sure I tell everyone I know about CCN. Hopefully all the readers pass this site around on their fb or just in passing.


…..Because the tribune it itself is a form of censorship.


So true.



You’re a talented young lady but more than this you’re extremely brave. Don’t let the type of “freedom” you described for yourself ever ebb. Don’t, please don’t, find yourself sitting in a small place one day in your future wandering how it came about that you sacrificed your type of freedom for what others call theirs; its a small lonely place I assure you. What most people want when they start dictating their definition of freedom to someone else is company in their own agony, that’s all.

You did good!!! Please keep at it….


Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.


I wouldn’t say he “volunteered” to be coach, since he turned down EVERY applicant, even the very qualified ones. I’d say it was more control. Like how he’s controlling the situation.


Teen angst. How original.


Precisely. While “teen angst” has its place, I don’t think Senior Showcase is that place.


SLO High has many mental health issues.

The drugs,, the drunken students and the parents who are over the top or neglectful is to blame.

They need some time for kids to unwind from all the AP classes and pressure.


LOL. Which HS doesn’t? SLOHS is a darned good school.


This film will be played in the lobby tonight and Cece is fine with that. This forum is for live performances and so that is why this was excluded from the venue, not because it was to provocative.

Kathie Walker

I’m confused. Why didn’t Leslie just say that the Showcase is limited to live performances in the first place. I know Laura Albers and she is extremely honest and forthright so I’m certain there is some basis for this opinion piece.

Kathie Walker

Just to follow up, the Showcase was scheduled to feature several student films and was not intended to only feature live acts. One of those films was made by the talented Summer Truschke at the request of SLOHS. It took many, many hours for Summer to complete the project and several members of her family flew to SLO a day early before graduation to attend the Showcase in order to see her film.

At the very last moment today SLOHS administration decided to pull Summer’s film, as well. She was told that Leslie O’Connor just decided to feature only live acts in the Showcase. Instead, Summer’s film would play in the lobby of the PAC with Cece’s.

The films were shown on a small laptop atop a table in the PAC lobby which was unnoticed by those attending the Showcase. To further confuse the issue, another student’s film was apparently allowed to be shown at the main Showcase event.

Summer was the student who started the petition seeking to include CeCe’s film in the Showcase.


The Senior Showcase is just that, live performances…


Then WHY did the Principal tell her it was too provocative?????????