Perhaps it is fitting these four schools are this year’s recipients of the First Amendment Press Freedom Award.
After all, it is the 25th anniversary of the Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier decision, and Hazelwood East, it can be argued, sits in their backyards. In Missouri.
Even without a state law to support them, four St. Louis-area schools showed they actively support and protect First Amendment rights of their students and teachers as they earned the FAPFA recognition.
The 1988 U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood decision gave administrators the right to censor student media and more, under certain conditions.
Francis Howell High School and Francis Howell North High School, St. Charles, Mo., Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo., and Lafayette High School, Wildwood, Mo., will be recognized at the opening keynote at the JEA/NSPA High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco April 25.
This award has been co-sponsored for 13 years by the Journalism Education Association, National Scholastic Press Association and the Quill and Scroll Society.
The award, which began with an emphasis on student publications, was originally titled Let Freedom Ring, and later expanded to include the other freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
As in previous years, schools competed for the title by first answering questionnaires submitted by an adviser and at least one editor; those who advanced to the next level were asked to provide responses from the principal and all publications advisers and student editors, indicating their support of the five freedoms. In addition, semifinalists submitted samples of their printed editorial policies.
First round applications are due annually by Dec. 1. Downloadable applications for 2014 will be available on the JEA website in the fall.
Way to show everyone the road to the First Amendment, Missouri.
by Casey Nichols
Hazelwood stories: I live and teach in a state protected from the Hazelwood decision by a carefully crafted California Education Code. And yet, periodically it rears its ugly head.
In the past 19 years since I’ve advised at Rocklin High School, in both yearbook and newspaper, a parent will on occasion take exception to something we’ve published. They will do an Internet research, and then cite Hazelwood as a reason “I” need to edit the students. I reply with a link to California Ed Code 48907 as a starter, and proceed to explain how this superseded the Hazelwood decision and protects student expression across the board.
Each time my school has had a change of principals I spend time educating them on state law (and our board policy). Fortunately, three of the four have understood the value in freedom of expression. We also develop an understanding of what education code means by an adviser’s role in assuring the highest possible quality in reporting and mechanics.
I have often thought of setting those high expectations often as we approach potentially controversial areas. While in graduate school I actually met the student’s and lawyer who defended the case. I remember how much it offended their sense of right and wrong to have their work censored. It reminds me that as a teacher I must expect excellence and thorough reporting; as an adviser I must my students, and have their back when they’ve done their job and still get questioned.
I am further proud that California has gone on to protect adviser’s jobs with SB 1370, which guarantees they cannot be removed for protecting student’s rights of expression. There is little more dear to all of us than our First Amendment Rights, and as it is so often, high school journalism is the perfect laboratory to learn, practice, and master effective use of those rights.
by John Bowen
Applications are now available for this year’s First Amendment Press Freedom Award (FAPFA).
In its 13th year, the recognition is designed to identify and recognize high schools that actively support and protect First Amendment rights of their students and teachers. The honor focuses on press freedoms.
The application can be completed by using a SurveyGizmo form
. Deadline for submission is Dec. 1, 2012.
Schools will be recognized at the 2013 Spring National JEA/NSPA High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco.
To be recognized by JEA, NSPA and Quill and Scroll, schools must successfully complete two rounds of questions about the degree of First Amendment Freedoms student journalists have and how the school recognizes and supports the First Amendment. Entries will be evaluated by members of these organizations.
As in previous years, high schools will compete for the title by first answering questionnaires directed to an adviser and at least one editor; those who advance to the next level will be asked to provide responses from the principal and advisers and student editors/news directors of all student media.
In Round 2, semifinalists will submit samples of the publications and their printed editorial policies.
We’d love to see a record number of applications, and winners, in what will be the 25th anniversary year of the Hazelwood decision.
by Kathy Schrier
It’s obvious, by the frequent reports of administrative prior review and restraint across the country, that there is a lack of clarity about the law and the First Amendment rights of students. The waters, muddied by the 1988 Hazelwood Supreme Court decision, are much more clear now in seven states where anti-Hazelwood legislation has passed.
For the student press in all other states, there is a constant tug of war between student journalists and their administrators over what is allowed: Under what circumstances is administrative control over content justified? What recourse do students have when their rights have been infringed upon? What is the role of the adviser? Who is liable when unprotected speech slips through and is published?
It has become clear that, in the states where legislation has passed, these questions now have answers; in the states where there is no clarifying law, the answers to these questions are ill defined. There are no winners in the resulting tug-of-war between school administrators, their districts, and the student press.
Members of the Scholastic Press Rights Commission decided this situation warranted the creation of a guide for those in states where legislation has not yet passed. This document would be a “blueprint” to guide individuals determined to see scholastic press rights bills introduced their own states. During an intense two-day meeting in March 2012, a team of SPRC Commission members poured over archives documenting successes and failures in passing legislation, and the result is a downloadable “Promoting Scholastic Press Rights Legislation: A Blueprint for Success.”
This guide is not a guarantee of success, but the SPRC hopes that it will offer insights into the challenges, and will be a practical reference for those who choose to navigate the unpredictable waters of the legislative process. The information will also be available on our homepage, in the menu section, on the right.
To help provide background information about the Hazelwood decision, download this legal research by theStudent Press Law Center.
The school year is just starting and already those who want to control student thinking and decision-making are hard at work.
In an Ohio school that boasts the state’s highest testing scores, prior restraint started last year and a nearly 20-year adviser was removed against her will over the summer. The reason given, one heard so often over the last six months, was the administration wanted to go in a different direction.
In Indiana, an adviser was stripped of journalism classes and the publication subjected to prior review. The reason: too many typos and grammatical errors. The principal might not even be conducting the private review; instead, that might be the job of a committee of students, faculty and others.
Thanks to the New York Times, teachers and advisers like the ones above, ones who face administrative control or work for those who don’t see the value of journalism to promote authentic learning, now have something to promote their values.
In using The Learning Network coverage for their Student Journalism Week, The Times provides advisers with an opportunity to reinforce the myriad of scholastic journalism positives by making creative use of the following topics:
• A Guide to Rights and Responsibilities
• The Value of School Newspapers
• Three Benefits of Newspaper Programs
• Using News Models for Authentic Writing
• Resources for School Newspaper Advisers
These articles present principles that should enable all of us to embrace and spread the values of scholastic journalism either in our own schools or with others who need to know what we so strongly believe:
Scholastic journalists, when empowered and trusted, produce coherent reporting and thinking in authentic, accurate and substantive communication.
And that is what education is all about.