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No one lives in a Hazelwood state

Posted by on Nov 30, 2015 in Blog, Hazelwood, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 1 comment

sprclogoby Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE

The first time a journalism teacher in a convention session asked for advice because she lived “in a Hazelwood state,” I know I frowned. What? You may be in a state that doesn’t protect student speech, but how would that make you a Hazelwood state?

The important news is — it doesn’t.

In 1969 when Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District said students don’t shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate, this meant all students — it was a protection.

But Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988) didn’t overturn Tinker. And it didn’t say schools HAD to censor or prior review. In fact, eventually we have found some pretty big loopholes. For one thing, your state CAN pass legislation that protects student speech, as North Dakota did in April 2015 to join the other nine states that have laws (and two that have education codes). This new surge of interest in legislation has emerged in more than 21 states, with many adopting the New Voices name.

The more we can do to discourage school officials from seeing Hazelwood-supported censorship as an obligation but instead perceiving it as an embarrassment, the better off scholastic journalism will be.  Avoiding the ‘Hazelwood state’ moniker is one way to do that…Mark Goodman

But even if your state doesn’t offer such protection, you have options. For one thing, you can operate as an open forum for student expression, either by your board policy or by your own practice of having students make content decisions and avoid prior review.

As former SPLC director Mark Goodman, now Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism and professor at Kent State, said, “It goes back to the fact that Hazelwood never requires censorship by school officials.  Too many people misread or misinterpret Hazelwood as being a directive as opposed to a permission.”

He pointed out that even in these so-called “Hazelwood states” many student journalists have strong First Amendment protection as a result of their school’s policy or practice of designating them as a public forum.

“The more we can do to discourage school officials from seeing Hazelwood-supported censorship as an obligation but instead perceiving it as an embarrassment, the better off scholastic journalism will be.  Avoiding the ‘Hazelwood state’ moniker is one way to do that,” Goodman said.


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Celebrate Free Speech Week,
show it means something real

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Free Speech Week starts Monday, Oct. 19 and continues through Oct. 25.FreeSpeechWeek_Logo_Main

Let’s show the nation it means something to scholastic journalism, its students and advisers.

According to information from the its website, Free Speech Week (FSW) is a yearly event to raise public awareness of the importance of free speech in our democracy- and to celebrate that freedom. As freedom of speech is a right all American’s share, this non-partisan, non-ideological event is intended to be a unifying celebration.

SPRC suggestions include:
• Publish at least one substantive story across platforms this week that show students who practice free speech to make final content decisions perform intelligently and act journalistically responsible, no matter how controversial the topic
FSW_Icon_500• Reach out to some part(s) of your communities and show them how and why free speech guidelines are important, not only for publishers but for audiences
• Invite community members, from students to adults in and out of school, to sessions where students decide content to be published so these observers can see the thought and principles that go into decision-making.
• Follow links to the FSW Social Media Badge used to the left and/or the FSW logo and display your active support.

Scholastic media can also become partners with FSW and display badges like the one at the start of this article and others. Click here to find out how.

In fact, try to get your whole school to partner and display the social media badge o FSW logo.

You can find other celebration suggestions on the Celebration Ideas Douglass-225x225webpage.

Click on the image to the right to find free speech and expression quotes for personal use.

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The foundations of journalism:
policies, ethics and staff manuals

Posted by on Apr 29, 2015 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Featured, Legal issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Mouse over the visual and click on numbers 1-4 for content.

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North Dakota introduces legislation
to protect student expression

Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

sprclogoWith North Dakota’s introduction of a freedom of expression bill Jan. 19, student journalists in other states might want to know how to work on legislation in their states.

The John Wall New Voices Act is designed to protect student First Amendment rights both public high schools and public and private colleges.

Seven states have passed legislation protecting student expression at the scholastic levels, and Illinois protects college-level speech.

Students or advisers interested in obtaining materials to consider working on legislation can check these resources:

SPLC model legislation to protect student free expression rights
SPLC map and model guidelines for legislation
JEA/SPRC Blueprint for state legislation

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There’s a reason we need to
‘be bold and stand firm’

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Blog, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Stan Zoller
The 18-word Tweet said it all.

“This attack on freedom of speech and freedom of press must not be tolerated. Be bold. Stand firm.”

And so it is, another militant organization seeks to spew its venom on innocent people because of ideological differences. This one goes far beyond the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Where this one hits home for all of us is that we have the opportunity practice what we teach – freedom of the press.

It’s a good time to take a step back and reflect on the times an administrator has subjected us to prior review or prior restraint for seemingly unsubstantiated reasons, except for the fact that they disagree, or they fear higher level authorities.

Yes, it’s annoying and yes it challenges the very fabric of what most journalism educators teach. Many, so it seems, go with the flow out of fear for their jobs.

As you watch the coverage of the massacre in Paris you may come to the realization that in the scope of things, we have it easy.

We can establish a dialogue with stakeholders in our student media to argue and maybe even resolve our differences without fearing for our lives.

Ten staff members of Charlie Hebdo who dared to have an opinion and two police officers who dared to do their job didn’t have the same luck.

It might be a good time for journalism educators, especially those at the high school level, to take a break for social media, story planning and – yikes – even deadlines, to spend a class or two looking at journalists who died simply because they were journalists – simply because they sought the truth – simply because they wanted transparency.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 61 journalists were killed last year. Since 1992, the CPJ reports that 1,101 journalists have been killed. Some were killed covering war zones, others because they were journalists.

All because they were practicing freedom of the press.

And so it bears repeating: “This attack on freedom of speech and freedom of press must not be tolerated. Be bold. Stand firm.”

And consider yourself fortunate.

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