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Pennsylvania paper reports students, school “seem pleased” with policy progress

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A Pennsylvania newspaper is reporting students of The Spoke and school officials at Conestoga High School feel they are drawing closer to an agreement over what student media policies will be.

Earlier this spring students and journalism educators raised concern over proposed changes in the policies which seemed to institute prior review.

Today’s article can be found here. A previous article from the Student Press Law Center can be found here. An SPLC podcast with the student editors can be found here. Stories from last spring’s Web site, the Stoganews.com, can be found here.

Students started their own Web site to keep the community informed about the issue.

The Main Line Media News quotes a school official, saying, “I would say that the school board and district have always encouraged students to express their opinions to the fullest extent of the law and the job of the adviser is to offer guidance,” said Robin McConnell, the administrative liaison to the school board’s policy committee. “Almost nothing was changed in the policy.”

According to the story, “students are, as always, to have their work reviewed by an adviser, but changes made to policy would not add or change requirements.” The existing policy had been in place for 15 years.

“Conestoga has built one of the nation’s most successful journalism programs with no mandatory prior review,” said Frank LoMonte, SPLC executive director. “The editors, advisers and principal observe a system of mutual professional courtesy in which students give great weight to the school’s input but make the final judgment calls themselves.”

LoMonte credits progress made to smart, involved parents and alumni who appreciate the educational experience provided by uncensored journalism and who used the democratic process to make themselves heard.

“Results speak for themselves,” he said.

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