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MIPA joins the resolution;
will you be next?

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by John Bowen
The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association became the latest state scholastic media group to endorse the Journalism Education Association and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication resolution on the negative educational impact of the Hazelwood decision.

The MIPA resolution read, in part, “The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA) joins with the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in stating that no legitimate pedagogical purpose is served by the censorship of student journalism on the grounds that it reflects unflatteringly on school policies and programs, that it candidly discusses sensitive social and political issues, or that it voices opinions challenging to majority views on matters of public concern.”hazelwoodcolor

MIPA joins the Kettle Moraine Press Association, the Ohio Scholastic Media Association and Kent State University’s Center for Scholastic Journalism in endorsing the statement to date.

JEA and the Student Press Law Center urge state and regional journalism organizations to join them in making a national statement that nothing educational or legitimate comes from censorship stemming from the 1988 U. S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood decision.

JEA’s board of directors voted unanimously to endorse a resolution by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication that said, in part, “the Hazelwood level of control over student journalistic speech is clearly incompatible with the effective teaching of journalistic skills, values and practices, and that institutions of secondary and postsecondary education should forswear reliance on Hazelwood as a source of authority for the governance of student and educator expression.”

“This resolution is important for two reasons,” JEA president Mark Newton said. “Anytime we can partner with our college colleagues in AEJMC it shows incredible solidarity. And, most importantly, as the leading scholastic journalism education group, we must stand tall and scream at injustice. Make no mistake, the Hazelwood Supreme Court decision and its subsequent interpretations are an injustice to education, students, advisers and the First Amendment.”

The pendulum simply has swung too far toward heavy-handed school control following 25 years of failed experimentation with the Hazelwood level of censorship authority, SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte said.

“Hazelwood has proven itself to be legally unsound, educationally counterproductive, and as a practical matter entirely unnecessary,” LoMonte said,  “since schools from California to Massachusetts have functioned just fine for decades without it.”

How you can join the resolutions:
• Study the AEJMC and JEA resolutions attached to this packet
• Ask questions as needed by emailing jabowen@kent.edu
• Prepare a statement showing your organization’s endorsement of JEA’s resolution and publish it
• Notify JEA and the SPRC of your endorsement, and provide us with a copy of the resolution

JEA’s and the Scholastic Press Rights Comission’s goal is simple: We want to have all 50 states make a statement that can be cited by courts as consensus of journalism educators as to what is a legitimate educational reason for censorship – not the random fears Hazelwood generates.

Although JEA has set no deadline for state endorsements, SPRC chair John Bowen urged states to act as quickly as possible.

“The sooner we can point to agreement with these statements,” Bowen said, “the more likelihood we have of making a usable statement for courts and others. Having this in hand before school begins in August would be a real plus.”

Attached materials:
• AEJMC Resolution can be found at http://www.aejmc.org/home/2013/04/resolution-one-2013/

• JEA Resolution attached and available here.

 

 

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