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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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Why protecting student free expression is important

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


sprclogoStudents and advisers in states with recent freedom of expression legislation may want to inform their communities of educational rationale for the legislation. Additionally, those states working to pass such legislation might want to use the same points to gain support.

How free expression legislation provides value to:

  • Students who can more effectively

— Demonstrate learning, critical thinking and decision making by applying the principles of free expression legislation

–Pursue opportunities in all aspects of journalism not available previously

–Show that principles of civic engagement practiced through journalism can make a difference their communities

–Display leadership skills that will be useful throughout their lives

–Develop a meaningful and effective voices important to themselves and society

  • Advisers who can more effectively

–Help develop useful, effective and meaningful life-long learning skills in their students

–Train students to expand leadership and citizenship skills applicable to a changing society

–Express teaching concepts and issues that can empower students and enhance student experiences

— Activate enjoyable, meaningful and creative student-led learning experiences

–Build programs that continue to show the benefits of free and journalistically responsible student media

  • Administrators who can more effectively

–Empower student journalists to take responsibility for all facets of their student media, practicing what they are taught

–Model journalism programs where standards guide student efforts

–Create an atmosphere where all groups learn and growth from each other

–Expand the vision of all involved in the community mission of civic engagement and social responsibility

–Enxourage student leadership who take advantage of the forum created by their media to improve school and community

  • Communities who can more effectively

–Receive information that is accurate, thorough and represents diverse insights

–Collaborate with diverse age groups with diverse backgrounds in the learning process

–Experience the impact of student and citizen free expression

–Benefit from the benefits of creative and enlightened student leadership

–Contribute support so free and journalistically responsible student expression expands


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