We are happy to be able to post this info about the “Tinker Tour,” the dream that’s getting closer to reality for Mary Beth Tinker, of armband fame, and Mike Hiestand, formerly in Washington, D.C. with the Student Press Law Center and continuing to be a special project attorney for them.
Both are dynamic speakers whom students love. (Full disclosure: Mary Beth was keynoter at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association state convention a few weeks ago, and it was so wonderful to see students this excited about free speech!)
Read on and see if there’s something you can do to bring them to YOUR state or city or school:
Go here and here for more information about the tour.
by John Bowen
The Journalism Education Association and the Student Press Law Center urge state and regional journalism organizations to make 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.”
JEA’s resolution differed slightly from the AEJMC model as it focused more directly on scholastic journalism.
“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.”
JEA’s resolution states, in part, “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. The censorship of such speech, or the punishment of media advisers based on that speech, is detrimental to effective learning and teaching, and it cannot be justified by reference to “pedagogical concerns.”
“The educators who know journalism best are united in their conviction school censorship authority should never be used to discourage students from engaging on the social and political issues that concern them, including issues involving the quality of their own educational experience,” LoMonte said. ”That is a message that the courts cannot ignore when the next Hazelwood censorship case invariably arises. What constitutes a “legitimate pedagogical concern” that justifies school censorship should be decided be educators, not school attorneys, and the JEA resolution sends the unmistakable message that censoring for purposes of P.R. image control is educationally indefensible.”
What you can do Here’s what JEA and its Scholastic Press Rights Commission would like you to do: • Study the AEJMC and JEA resolutions attached to this packet • Ask questions as needed by emailing email@example.com • 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
“Our goal is to support journalism advisers and students with the full voice of the Kettle Moraine Press Association,” their resolution states in part. “In doing so, the KEMPA Board of Directors unanimously endorses the JEA Resolution: Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier anniversary/First Amendment and censorship authority and its position that the censorship of speech which candidly discusses social and political issues in school publications and the punishment of media advisers based on that exercise of free speech is detrimental to effective learning and teaching.”
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.”
Just like any big event — you remember where you were or what you were doing. Those who were advising scholastic media when the Supreme Court announced Hazelwood v.Kuhlmeier 25 years ago probably can recall their reactions — and maybe those of their administrators as well.
My own recollection: The principal, a fairly supportive guy, motioned me into his office. “Have you heard the decision?” Of course I knew what he meant. “Yes.” I smiled and added, “But there’s no room for you to moved your desk up to the X-Ray office.”
Luckily the St. Charles High School student newspaper, the X-Ray, didn’t face prior review. There had been some sticky moments in the past, but I got along well with this principal and his successor a short time later.
Not everyone had such smooth sailing. One way to find out what happened then and what changes followed was to talk to advisers who were in the classroom and student media newsroom both before Jan. 13, 1988 and after. What impact did they see from that landmark Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier decision? What difference did it make to them and their students and others they observed?
That’s why the Center for Scholastic Journalism at Kent State took advantage of the Fall 2012 JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in San Antonio to interview four such advisers who were attending. All taught at that time, and one is still in the classroom while the other three are retired but very much involved with high school media as mentors in the Journalism Education Association program and press association board members.
Gary Lindsay, JEA regional director recently retired from Kennedy High School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was only in his second year of advising when Hazelwood came about.
Janet Levin, adviser in 1988 and today at John Hersey High School, Arlington Heights, Ill., remembers the local media reaching her when she didn’t yet know the decision.
At Homestead High School in Cupertino, Cal., Nick Ferentinos’ principal almost immediately took what he saw as an opportunity to remove an article in progress about an HIV-positive student.
Wayne Dunn, president of the Ohio Scholastic Media Association and JEA mentor, had been advising four years at Lebanon (Ohio) High School in 1988.
See what they had to say. Did Hazelwood have the kind of impact journalism educators feared in 1988? According to these four advisers who have seen the before and after, yes, the chilling effect on student journalists has indeed made a difference, and it hasn’t been a good one.