Since the beginning of football season, I’ve been the Green & Gold’s sports photographer, and until recently I had never been restricted from taking good shots at Tiger games. I have gotten to shoot right alongside the professional photographers.
But at one of the biggest games of the season, things were different.
During the Fremont vs. McClymonds basketball championship game on March 6, I was restricted from taking photos for the angles I needed.
In the beginning of the game, I tried to get shots from the center of court near the basket — the best angle any photographer can get. But as I passed a school security officer, she told me that I had to shoot from the corner because the center was only meant for the Oakland Tribune.
At first I thought it wasn’t a big deal. But once I realized how weak my shots were, I knew this was a big issue. And plus, the center space wasn’t even being used by the Tribune pros. It was a waste of empty space.
Just because I don’t carry a camera with a 300x zoom lens and don’t get paid to work for a city newspaper does not mean I can’t do as good of a job as the pros. And it doesn’t mean the students who look at my photos of their own school athletes are less important than Oakland Tribune readers.
In fact, the “pros” at the McClymonds game were mostly just sitting in a corner to get their pictures. That’s how you miss the good stuff.
I think I speak for all students when I say that it seems everywhere we go when it involves school, we are denied our First Amendment rights — our freedom of the speech and press. And we should not be treated any less than any other human being, no matter of age.
The U.S. Supreme Court even ruled in the Tinker v. Des Moines case that students don’t give up their First Amendment rights when they step on campus.
Students — especially students studying journalism as part of their career pathway — shouldn’t be restricted and discriminated against doing jobs that need to be done.
Whether we are shooting photographs for our sports teams or speaking up at the Oakland City Council or the Oakland Unified School District board meetings, students need to have a voice.
In life we have to remember that “You will not get what you deserve. You will get what you negotiate.”
We need to negotiate with the OAL