Organizations honor 9 high schools that protect students’ First Amendment rights

MISSOURI — Nine public schools from across the country were named”First Amendment High Schools 2000″ on Nov. 16 as part of a new programhonoring public high schools that respect and protect First Amendment rightsfor students and teachers.

Every public high school in the U.S. was eligible to apply for the award,and there was no limit on how many schools were chosen. However, out ofthe 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 protection of students’religious expression to their dedication to protecting textbooks and librarybooks from censorship. The judges, made up of representatives from thefive organizations that sponsored the award, said the issue of whetherstudents had editorial rights over their media made the most differencein the final analysis.

The schools were presented with the award during the Journalism EducationAssociation/National Scholastic Press Association convention in KansasCity, Mo. The award is sponsored by The Freedom Forum’s First AmendmentCenter, the Journalism Education Association, the National Scholastic PressAssociation, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and Quill and Scroll.

This was the first year of the program. Schools are invited to qualifyfor the distinction annually and can obtain applications from any of thesponsoring organizations.

The nine schools named “First Amendment High Schools 2000” are: DavenportCentral High School, Davenport, Iowa; Johnsburg High School, McHenry, Ill.;Lakewood High School, Lakewood, Ohio; McLean High School, McLean, Va.;Mountlake Terrace High School, Mountlake Terrace, Wash.; Muncie CentralHigh School, Muncie, Ill.; Natrona County High School, Casper, Wyo.; OakPark High School, Kansas City, Mo.; Townsend Harris High School, Flushing,N.Y.