Dean v. Utica Community Schools

345 F. Supp. 2d 799 (E.D. Mich. 2004)

The case involved an effort by students to publish a story in their student newspaper, the Arrow, about a lawsuit filed against their school district. As the paper was about to go to press, school officials told the adviser it could not be published. When Editor Katy Dean contested the censorship, the court concluded that the Arrow was a public forum. The court noted that although the newspaper was produced in relationship to a class with a faculty adviser, students were allowed to take the class for credit more than once, the Arrow published letters and guest columns from anyone, a community newspaper published articles from it regularly, the paper was not subject to prior review by the administration, students were required to sell advertising to support the paper’s printing costs, and no policy existed indicating that the paper was not a public forum. Even if the paper was a non-public forum to which the Hazelwood standard applied, the court ruled that the censorship of the Arrow did not reasonably relate to legitimate pedagogical concerns.

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