Posts Tagged "freedom of expression"

Fond du Lac English department statement
should be guide to those who face review

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When the Fond du Lac English department issued a statement supporting embattled student journalists there March 21, they signaled clear support against those who would censor student expression.

We urge other groups in high schools across the country follow their lead, especially if their student media labor under prior review.

We urge other groups in high schools across the country follow their lead, especially if their student media labor under prior review.

Students at the school have faced censorship since their principal imposed new prior review directives March 10 following student publication of “The “Rape Joke” story, a look at what student journalists felt was a “culture of rape” at the school and focused on three students who said they were raped.

Important parts of the English department statement include:
• …“The story, itself, stands as an exemplar of high quality, responsible journalism that has helped countless readers feel supported, speak up, seek help, and come together in a way that has undoubtedly resulted in a more positive environment in our school. We need more stories like this one, not fewer.
• “The fact that the new guidelines were drawn up so quickly, in defiance of past precedent, without warning or consultation with the school newspaper advisor or staff or other interested parties, and in the most restrictive form possible has the students worried that such stories, while powerful and community-building, may be controversial or not be “positive” enough to gain future approval.
• “Our students, allowed some freedom to work together to think critically and make informed choices on their own along with the guidance of a highly qualified instructor, are capable of truly amazing things. Such work should be celebrated, not censored.”

The group also urged the superintendent and school board to support the open forum for student expression and to drafted new guidelines “in collaboration with students, community and experts in the field” to accomplish that.

We absolutely agree, for these reasons and countless others:
• No one has ever demonstrated  legitimate educational rationale for prior review. Defenses almost always come in the form of public relations and personal administrative preferences. Not even the Hazelwood decision supports that.
• Academic rigor and civic engagement require student decision-making and critical thinking where students apply the principles they learn. Anything less prevents the authentic learning a journalistically responsible student media must demonstrate.
• A free and unfettered journalism is at the core of a democracy. If students see they cannot practice what they are taught, they will come to see that democracy as flawed, unreal and unworthy of protection.
• Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in The Elements of Journalism and its follow-up book Blur, say journalism’s first obligation is to the truth. Achieving that, through accuracy, balance and coherence of content cannot occur under the practice of prior review.
• In Blur, Kovach and Rosenstiel emphasize the discipline of verification, which is also limited if not impossible in an atmosphere of prior review.
• We strongly support the Questions about Prior Review the department mentions as they substantially reflect JEA policy and beliefs.

We strongly urge English departments, social studies departments, parent booster groups and any citizen or educator who supports learning and rigor in schools to examine the Fond du Lac English department statement.

The statement provides a summary of essential positions JEA and other scholastic media groups have advocated for years. For more about those beliefs and principles, go here.

Whether we teach freedom of expression in English and journalism, social studies or news/media literacy, we must practice that belief or all the rigor and literacy we give lip service to will be shallow, meaningless words.

As we move forward with authentic learning, expanded news literacy and civic engagement, we must prime our students with real practices that reflect what they are taught.

Whether we teach freedom of expression in English and journalism, social studies or news/media literacy, we must practice that belief or all the rigor and literacy we give lip service to will be shallow, meaningless words.

 

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FAPFA application deadline is Dec. 1

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by John Bowen
Deadline for the First Amendment Press Freedom Award (FAPFA) is fast approaching. The application can be completed by using a SurveyGizmo form. Deadline for submission is Dec. 1, 2013.

In its 14th 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.

Schools will be recognized at the 2014 Spring National JEA/NSPA High School Journalism Convention in San Diego.
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.
Round 1 consists of a student editor and adviser or administrator answering questions. 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 also submit samples of the publications and their printed editorial policies.
We’d love to see a record number of applications, and winners.
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Four Missouri Schools Earn Press Freedom Award

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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.hazelwoodcolor

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.

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California ed codes protect student expression, adviser teaching

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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.

25 years of Hazelwood art

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.

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Forum for student expression?
Apply for FAPFA recognition

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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.
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