Nine high schools receive award for dedication to students’ First Amendment rights

MISSOURI — Nine public schools from across the countrywere named "First Amendment High Schools 2000" on Nov.16 as part of a new program that honors public high schools thatrespect and protect First Amendment rights for students and teachers.

Every public high school in the U.S. was eligible to applyfor the award, and there was no limit on how many schools werechosen. However, out of the more than 200 schools that applied,only nine were selected for the "First Amendment High Schools"designation.

Schools were judged on a variety of issues from the protectionof students’ religious expression to their dedication to protectingtextbooks and library books from censorship. The judges, madeup of representatives from the five organizations that sponsoredthe award, said the issue of whether students had editorial rightsover their media made the most difference in the final analysis.

The schools were presented with the award during the JournalismEducation Association/ National Scholastic Press Association conventionin Kansas City, Mo. The award is sponsored by The Freedom Forum’sFirst Amendment Center, the Journalism Education Association,the National Scholastic Press Association, the Columbia ScholasticPress Association and Quill and Scroll.

This was the first year of the program. Schools are invitedto qualify for the distinction annually and can obtain applicationsfrom any of the sponsoring organizations.

The nine schools named "First Amendment High Schools 2000"are: Davenport Central High School, Davenport, Iowa; JohnsburgHigh School, McHenry, Ill.; Lakewood High School, Lakewood, Ohio;McLean High School, McLean, Va.; Mountlake Terrace High School,Mountlake Terrace, Wash.; Muncie Central High School, Muncie,Ill.; Natrona County High School, Casper, Wyo.; Oak Park HighSchool, Kansas City, Mo.; Townsend Harris High School, Flushing,N.Y.