JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission (SPRC) has set up a uniform process to help advisers – and students – who seek advice about handing censorship or other legal issues.
The Panic Button.
The Panic Button is an online reporting tool to collect information from those experiencing some type of censorship.
When an adviser or student uses the Panic Button to submit information, designated SPRC members receive notification. This sets in motion a series of responses following a checklist system. In no way will the commission direct the fight against censorship, but each person has a different course of action in supporting the adviser and students while offering suggestions and resources specific to that situation.
As JEA vice president and Commission member Sarah Nichols reported in an email to state and regional directors and board members, “We [a Press Rights Commission subcommittee that developed the process] focused on four key goals:
• A consistent method of reporting
• A process that works quickly
• A tool for collecting data
• A way to avoid overlap and prevent harm.”
Here’s who gets involved and how:
When the adviser hits the panic button and files a report, he or she instantly gets a check sheet with steps to take – like “Take a deep breath — you have support” and “Keep a paper trail.” A student can hit the Panic Button, too, and the check sheet he or she gets is a little different, including, “Contact the Student Press Law Center,” and “Get parental and other student support.” That request for assistance goes to six SPRC members, who quickly respond.
Today, I received the NSBA Legal Clips online and noticed that the tag cloud for their website was very interesting. As you can see here, the biggest item is First Amendment, even larger that the JEA SPRC tag cloud. Says something about their concern about First Amendment rights issues.
Those looking for guidelines to prepare state groups to pass free expression legislation now have a draft document package to work with.
The Scholastic Press Rights Commission has completed a draft version of its Blueprint for Success: Promoting Scholastic Right Rights Legislation, and makes that information available in time for the JEA/NSPA Seattle convention.
The commission welcomes comments and suggestions before it publishes a final version in the coming months.
The Blueprint can be downloaded here or from a link in the right-hand menu under state legislation on this site.
Several additional legal and ethical sites are also worth noting:
• Back issues of the Student Press Reports. Found at Issuu, this site gives everyone access to information from The SPLC Reports, the Student Press Law Center’s magazine, since it started. Well worth time to just browse or look for information to support local reporting.
• The Panic Button. Found here, The Panic Button links you or your students directly to assistance and information about handling an issue of censorship. Members of the Scholastic Press Rights Commission and 45Words students will respond quickly, offering suggestions and providing information as your students and others plan a strategy to handle censorship.
• The forum map. This map, a project of The Center for Scholastic Journalism, is a list of schools the Center has determined to be open forums for student expression, either by policy or practice. The purpose of the map is to enable journalism programs seeking to become open forums to have models and contacts to assist in the quest.
• Application to be on the forum map. This writable PDF is your way to apply to have your school recognized as an forum by policy or practice.
• Certification map. This map shows requirements for teaching journalism in 49 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and links to each state’s department of education.