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What to do if school officials
threaten censorship after legislation

Posted by on Sep 5, 2016 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

What to do if school officials threaten censorship

sprclogoEven though state legislation can provide protection, sometimes others do not understand that and need further education. Use a friendly and informative approach and help them understand. Here are some steps we recommend.

  • Share a copy of the law and explain the language and meanings in educational civic and legal terms and benefits to the various communities.
  • Use your Talking Points, bill terminology and other supportive arguments to emphasize key points and arguments for student free expression.
  • Ask challengers to state their specific arguments in writing so you can respond
  • Contact SPLC, use the SPRC Panic Button for legal, ethical and educational advice and support.
  • Contact the legislators who proposed the bill and seek their involvement.
  • Respond to challengers’ arguments with logical and documented points and seek further time for discussion.
  • Contact additional legal and educational sources for support and resources.
  • Share print and online resources like New Voices Facebook pages.
  • Keep the dialogue meaningful.
  • Invite questioners to journalism meetings, including editorial board meetings, so they can see how student decision-making works.

If the educational approach does not seem to work, try other approaches.

  • As necessary, share the story of the censorship and legislative background with local and state media. Ideally, you have already shared information and explanation about the legislation with media after it passed
  • Enlist community and parental booster groups of your student media for their active intervention

 

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