Mich. student wins Courage in Student Journalism Award for fighting censorship

FORIMMEDIATE RELEASEWASHINGTON, D.C. — Katherine Dean,former managing editor of the Arrow, the student newspaper at Utica HighSchool in Utica, Mich., received the 2003 Courage in Student Journalism Award onSaturday for her commitment to student press freedom.The Student PressLaw Center, the Newseum and the National Scholastic Press Association presentedthe award to Dean at the NSPA/Journalism Education Association fall convention.The annual award recognizes a student journalist who has fought to uphold thefreedom of the student press despite resistance or difficult circumstances.Dean’s struggle began in March 2002 when she co-wrote an article about alawsuit filed by local residents who alleged that diesel fumes from idlingschool buses parked at the Utica Community School’s garage was detrimental totheir health. One of the plaintiffs alleged the fumes caused him to developcancer. Utica school officials withheld the article on March 7, 2002, one daybefore it was scheduled for publication. Since then, Dean and thenewspaper staff have fought school officials over the censorship. The AmericanCivil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dean on April 4,2003, alleging that school officials violated Dean’s First Amendment rightsbecause the article might “embarrass school officials.” The lawsuit is pendingin federal district court.After it was censored by the school, Dean’sarticle appeared in the local Macomb Daily newspaper with an editorialcriticizing the school. Several other Michigan newspapers and televisionstations reported on Dean’s struggle.”Katy Dean’sstruggle is an example to journalists everywhere,” said Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. “She has stoodup to the pressure from her school because she put the health and safety of herreaders first.”Dean received $5,000 from theNewseum for winning the award.”It’s atremendous honor,” Dean said. “My case has helped me realize that the FirstAmendment is not some far-off ideal that was fought for hundreds of years ago,but a significant right that we need to fight for everyday.”###The Courage in Journalism Award is sponsored by theStudent Press Law Center, the Newseum and the National Scholastic PressAssociation. Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been the only nationalorganization exclusively devoted to providing free legal advice and assistanceto student journalists and advisers and serving as an advocate for their freepress and freedom of information rights. The Newseum, the interactive museum ofnews planned for Washington, D.C., is funded by the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisanfoundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people.Founded in 1921, the National Scholastic Press Association and its collegedivision, the Associated Collegiate Press, provide rating services and criticalanalyses for print and electronic student news media and sponsor the largestannual national conventions for student journalists and their advisers.For additional information contact:Mark Goodman, Executive Director, Student Press Law Center at (703) 807-1904

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