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JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission (SPRC) established a first line of confidential intervention for those who feel they face censorship or just want legal or ethical advice about journalism decisions.

The Panic Button.

The Panic Button is an online reporting tool where advisers, students, administrators or community members can confidentially share their journalism situations or questions.

The SPRC will focus on a different kind of support, as we seek to educate, provide resources for ethical guidelines, connect the adviser to JEA Mentoring, Certification and Curriculum/Development teams, and this website for additional relevant materials.

Here’s who gets involved and how when the Panic Button is activated::

• On submission of Panic Button information, designated SPRC members react. This sets in motion a series of pre-established questions and actions.
• The commission will NOT direct a fight against censorship, or offer specific legal advice. Instead, if the issue is censorship, the responder will urge immediate contact with the Student Press Law Center’s Get Legal Help so they can assist with legal advice.
• When the panic button and files a report, he or she quickly gets a check sheet with steps to take – like “Take a deep breath — you have support” and “Keep a paper trail.”
• A student can hit the Panic Button, too, and the check sheet he or she gets is a little different, including, “Contact the Student Press Law Center,” and “Get parental and other student support.” That request for assistance goes to multiple SPRC members, who quickly respond.
• JEA’s state and regional director will receive an email from the vice president, letting them know of a situation in their area. At that point, the state director has a checklist to follow in support of the adviser. The checklist is included in the new JEA State Director Guide.
• While others begin to react, the commission chair reviews the information to determine our focus. If the situation is “typical,” the process will focus on helping fight censorship, sharing information, putting people in contact, publicizing the story on a broader level (if desired) and so forth.
• If, on the other hand, the situation reported raises red flags regarding unethical behavior or a case of questionable journalism/teaching, the SPRC will focus on a different kind of support, as we seek to educate, provide resources for ethical guidelines, connect the adviser to JEA Mentoring, Certification and Curriculum/Development teams, and this website for additional relevant materials.
•Three SPRC members also receive notification, one of whom will make contact with the adviser based on media type (newspaper/news magazine, yearbook or news website).
• Throughout this process, everyone will remind the adviser and students to seek guidance from the SPLC because it is the best source for legal advice.

All Reporting Censorship resources are available on JEA’s website, under Panic Button and Resources. A storehouse of other materials is also available on the site,
• This contact from JEA is meant to assist local supporters, not replace it. It will also not provide legal advice, but will refer all involved parties to the Student Press Law Center.

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