A Teacher’s Kit for curing Hazelwood
by Megan Fromm
January 13, 2013, we commemorate a bittersweet milestone in scholastic publications history: the 1988 Supreme Court ruling in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. This decision institutionalized censorship in most public schools in America, and our students have been publishing in its shadow ever since.
This month, JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission seeks to re-engage teachers, students, administrators and local media in a discussion about Hazelwood’s deleterious effects on civic education and scholastic journalism. Similarly, the Student Press Law Center’s “Cure Hazelwood” campaign is aimed at making the public aware of Hazelwood’s ill effects on our nation’s schools. Together, we hope to encourage administrators and policymakers to reconsider a stifling decision that has long plagued our education system.
We hope you will use, during the coming weeks, our Teacher Kit with resources, lesson plans, and calls to action to energize your students and staffs to learn more about—and ultimately take action against— Hazelwood.
Our kit includes:
• Call to Action: We invite all teachers to engage students and communities using one or more of the following Calls to Action. We look forward to seeing your involvement in creating long-term change.
• Checklist for Responsible Journalism : Identify and carry out these Best Practices in your reporting and coverage.
• Teacher Kit cover letter : Talks about our content and that of the Student Press Law Center’s Cure Hazelwood campaign.
• Hazelwood lessons : Designed for those schools facing Hazelwood’s controls and for those free of Hazelwood, the lessons include ways to educate to your school and community about the cost of Hazelwood in the last 25 years and ways to honor those who do not follow its limitations. Lessons also contain standards and a range of journalism materials.
• Time for a new approach : This poster simply notes some of the reasons why it is time to Cure Hazelwood.
• Time for freedom, time for a cure : This poster uses the Hazelwood articles as background for a call to action, to cure the Hazelwood illness. Both posters an be enlarged for classroom use or used as PSA art in your student media.
• Press release for media support: You can share this press release with your local media, urging them to report on and raises questions about the impact of 25 years of censorship and limitation. To effectively Cure Hazelwood, we need to educate the media and their publics.
• Principal letter : You can use this letter to principals to reinforce their support of free expression in schools or to urge them to rethink their attitudes.
• What is a public forum : This handout presents information on open public forums by policy and practice and the importance of each. Establishing your student media as open public forums by policy or practice can be an excellent first step to Cure Hazelwood.