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The hits never stop coming

Posted by on Mar 17, 2013 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Scholastic journalism’s focus this year is and should be on the 25th anniversary of Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier and the issues it helped spawn, from outright censorship to elimination of programs and teachers.Next year brings two notable anniversaries, both of  on the results of censorship and other issues that limited – and continue to limit – journalism programs around the country.

Next year brings two notable anniversaries, both on the results of censorship and other issues that limited – and continue to limit – journalism programs around the country.hazelwoodcolor

“Captive Voices,” published in 1974, is out of print, but available on Amazon. It will be 40 years since this expose first helped the public become aware of censorship and attitudes that limited student expression, and pointed to the importance of journalism education in America’s schools.

This study also brought about the Student Press Law Center, journalism education’s foremost legal support for teachers, students and communities in their search for free expression and civic engagement.

“Death By Cheeseburger,” published in 1994, out of print but available online here, focused on the health of American’s scholastic journalism programs 20 years after “Captive Voices.” Created around censorship of a story on school cafeteria food, the book included examination of scholastic journalism in much the same approach as “Captive Voices.” It marked the real beginning of commercial media putting forth resources to study, as well as improve, scholastic journalism on many levels.

Careful reading – and we all should revisit these books – will reveal issues fought 40 and 20 years ago still exist and still demand our attention as journalism educators.

We note these studies today because we must remain vigilant about the issues they raised.

• Advisers continue to lose their jobs for a myriad of reasons. For example, in Illinois, an adviser was RIFed (reduction in force) because of finances, the board said. The adviser says differently. His situation is certainly not the only one. For more information, go here and here. For information about a California adviser fearing retaliation, go here.

• Complaints about journalistic coverage and content continue as well. At Mountain View, Calif., students published a section on teen sex issues and some members of the community raised intense objection. Pro-student speakers and opponents discussed the issue at a board meeting. To date, school officials support the students right to make content decisions.

For information, see:
Mountain View High School student newspaper’s sex stories raise parent ire
Debate over sex education column defines us
High school paper’s sex and relationships article stirs up controversy

Because the hits like these keep coming, we cannot become complacent. We must celebrate and support those who contribute to our successes.

The Student Press Law Center received an Education Writer’s Association second place national award for “FERPA Fact” in the Best Blog category by a nonprofit or advocacy organization.

Frank LoMonte, in an email to the SPLC’s Advisory Council, said, “When we created FERPA Fact, we thought we were doing something pretty cool — leveraging the power of humor to get people talking about a serious problem that is in need of reform. We are pleased that others agree.”

We applaud the SPLC for being an unparalleled leader in scholastic journalism’s fight of this ongoing battle that shows no signs of ending.

 

 

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Start your new year with a call to action: Hazelwood anniversary looms

Posted by on Dec 18, 2012 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

hazelwoodBWby Megan Fromm
Yes, students, there is a Grinch. And its name is Hazelwood.

On January 13, 2013 student journalists and advisers across the country will (begrudgingly) commemorate 25 years of Hazelwood censorship.

In the hopes of inspiring change, dialogue and ultimately greater scholastic press freedom for all students, SPRC is finalizing its 25th Anniversary Hazelwood Teacher’s Kit.

This kit will include:

  • promotional materials for commemorating the event
  • lesson plans to better understand student press rights and combat Hazelwood censorship
  • a news release to engage your local journalists
  • a letter to administrators
  • and more!

Most importantly, the SPRC has created specific calls to action for students and advisers. We will also be live-tweeting resources and ideas throughout the month of January.

In partnership with the Student Press Law Center’s “Cure Hazelwood” campaign (www.curehazelwood.org), we encourage all scholastic journalists and advisers to put the 25th anniversary of the Hazelwood decision on your agenda.

Just imagine what could happen if scholastic journalists from schools across the nation made a collective, informed, impassioned plea for freedom. What a difference we could make!

So, this holiday season, we hope you will kick back, enjoy the festivities, and keep tabs on the SPRC blog for our upcoming teacher kit. Let’s make 2013 the year Hazelwood takes a hike!

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Worth noting

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Those looking for guidelines to prepare state groups to pass free expression legislation now have a draft document package to work with.

The Scholastic Press Rights Commission has completed a draft version of its Blueprint for Success: Promoting Scholastic Right Rights Legislation, and makes that information available in time for the JEA/NSPA Seattle convention.

The commission welcomes comments and suggestions before it publishes a final version in the coming months.

The Blueprint can be downloaded here or from a link in the right-hand menu under state legislation on this site.

Several additional legal and ethical sites are also worth noting:

Back issues of the Student Press Reports. Found at Issuu, this site gives everyone access to information from The SPLC Reports, the Student Press Law Center’s magazine, since it started. Well worth time to just browse or look for information to support local reporting.

The Panic Button. Found here, The Panic Button links you or your students directly to assistance and information about handling  an issue of censorship. Members of the Scholastic Press Rights Commission and 45Words students will respond quickly, offering suggestions and providing information as your students and others plan a strategy to handle censorship.

The forum map. This map, a project of The Center for Scholastic Journalism,  is a list of schools the Center has determined to be open forums for student expression, either by policy or practice. The purpose of the map is to enable journalism programs seeking to become open forums to have models and contacts to assist in the quest.

Application to be on the forum map. This writable PDF is your way to apply to have your school recognized as an forum by policy or practice.

Certification map. This map shows requirements for teaching journalism in 49 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and links to each state’s department of education.

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Worth noting

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Those looking for guidelines to prepare state groups to pass free expression legislation now have a draft document package to work with.

The Scholastic Press Rights Commission has completed a draft version of its Blueprint for Success: Promoting Scholastic Right Rights Legislation, and makes that information available in time for the JEA/NSPA Seattle convention.

The commission welcomes comments and suggestions before it publishes a final version in the coming months.

The Blueprint can be downloaded here or from a link in the right-hand menu under state legislation on this site.

Several additional legal and ethical sites are also worth noting:

Back issues of the Student Press Reports. Found at Issuu, this site gives everyone access to information from The SPLC Reports, the Student Press Law Center’s magazine, since it started. Well worth time to just browse or look for information to support local reporting.

The Panic Button. Found here, The Panic Button links you or your students directly to assistance and information about handling  an issue of censorship. Members of the Scholastic Press Rights Commission and 45Words students will respond quickly, offering suggestions and providing information as your students and others plan a strategy to handle censorship.

The forum map. This map, a project of The Center for Scholastic Journalism,  is a list of schools the Center has determined to be open forums for student expression, either by policy or practice. The purpose of the map is to enable journalism programs seeking to become open forums to have models and contacts to assist in the quest.

Application to be on the forum map. This writable PDF is your way to apply to have your school recognized as an forum by policy or practice.

Certification map. This map shows requirements for teaching journalism in 49 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and links to each state’s department of education.

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Stand up, shout out for student journalism

Posted by on Apr 25, 2011 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

With the 2nd U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the Doninger case, one thing is certainly clear: If we want to protect student expression rights and responsibilities, we are going to have to be the ones who stand up to do so.

SPLC executive director Frank LoMonte said the courts abdicated their responsibility to protect the basic human rights of vulnerable young people.

“Young people are going to have to organize and mobilize like never before to petition their legislators and members of Congress for better statutory protection,” LoMonte said. “This ruling is a wake-up call to every student in America that their rights are in peril and that they cannot depend on the federal courts to police even the clearest disciplinary overreactions.”

Adam Goldstein, SPLC attorney advocate, said the decision was flawed.

“It opines that students don’t have rights unless those rights are clearly established in light of the school environment,” Goldstein said, “as if students at home didn’t possess citizenship.”

It’s time for students and teachers to clearly highlight those rights.

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. Embrace its principles to endorse student expression as a key constitutionally protected right of citizenship. Create forums to talk about how and why journalism is at the core of democracy and the building of citizenship. Demonstrate the viability of student decision making, critical thinking and responsible expression through student media that make a difference.

In short, stand up for the importance and legitimacy of First Amendment rights for these American journalists, whether they criticize or commend or simply report issues, placid or emotional.

We’ve said it here before, and now again: We must oppose policies and practices that limit student expression. We must stand up and shout out for student journalism.

 

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