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What you don’t know COULD hurt you

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 in Blog, Legal issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


by Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE

Recent applications for the First Amendment Press Freedom Award revealed some knowledge gaps. Perhaps it’s not surprising that school principals couldn’t define unprotected speech on the forms each school submitted. So often media advisers and student publication staff members have to do a little educating of their administrators.

But a sizable number of advisers and student editors, who also had to respond to the same question, didn’t know the answer either….

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Needed: Student media which are public forums

Posted by on Sep 2, 2009 in Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism | 0 comments


The Journalism Education Association and The Center for Scholastic Journalism are looking for more schools who are public forums for student expression.

Why? Because we have had several requests for numbers – and for schools in particular areas.

So, if your school’s student media are public forums for student expression, let us know by going here and completing the form.

For student media to be designated as a public/student forum, the school must either:
• Have a school board- or administrator-enacted policy stating students make final content decisions of protected speech*, or
• Have a student media-generated policy declaring students make all final content decisions and also indicating/verifying that practice has been in effect at least two years, and there is no district or building policy that directly contradicts that practice. During that time, no adult, including the adviser, other faculty members, administrators or publication boards have dictated or changed content.

In both situations, the advisers may, as part of the coaching process, offer advice and comment, but not make final content decisions.

* The policy can still limit unprotected speech such as libel, obscenity and substantially disruptive material, but it must give other content control to the students.

Help us show others that public forums in student media are not an endangered species.

John Bowen, MJE

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