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Why society needs New Voices legislation

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Arizona Gov. Ducey shows why
we need journalists who
question those in power

by Lori Keekley, MJE
The idea any New Voices bill would result in students being unsupervised or teachers not mentoring students is preposterous.

That’s the excuse Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey gave for vetoing the Arizona New Voices legislation. The New Voices bill clarifies the roles of advisers, students and administrators; it empowers student voices; it doesn’t protect speech that is libelous, obscene, etc.

The governor did say in the Arizona Capitol Times article these are the next group of journalists “who will hold our government and leaders accountable.”

If students first learn only the news a school administrator deems appropriate is accepted, then we will have fewer journalists who question authority. We should teach students how to question authority — including requesting Freedom of Information Act requests.

We’ve seen how legislation similar to the current New Voices campaign has fostered this authority check Ducey would like to see. In Kansas, students were the only ones who questioned the incoming principal’s credentials.

Additionally, the SPRC has helped students whose administrators try to censor stories on types of birth control, cost of a stadium, coverage of rape culture.

This censorship may impact girls more than boys. According  to the SPLC’s The Active Voice  campaign, girls make ups a majority in high school media. When girls try to cover topics administrators attempt to censor, they may not re-engage.

The fact that Ducey said if this had been college students, he would have signed the bill into law. Too bad for many of our students, they may be too defeated by college to question authority.

It’s time for students’ voices to be empowered and not stifled.

 

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