Welcome to the SPLC Blog — and a reminder of what Independence Day is all about

“Press” is in our name, but the Student Press Law Center has always been about freedom of expression in all vehicles, and you are viewing the latest: the SPLC Blog, a collection of news, notes and observations about issues impacting the media and student rights.

The holiday we observe at this weekend’s weenie roasts and half-off sales is all about freedom from an overbearing and unresponsive government.  Freedom starts with an informed and engaged citizenry.  And today, with more than $120 billion in federal stimulus money earmarked for America’s schools, the student media will be an increasingly important sentinel keeping watch over the public’s business.

We need not look to colonial America for the lesson that citizens cannot relax their vigilance against an overreaching government.  We are reminded every day – when schools respond to independent, critical thinking by attempting to bully and intimidate the speaker – that government officials need close watching, and that those who resist questioning frequently are the ones with something to conceal.

This Independence Day, take a moment to appreciate the work of National High School Journalist of the Year Henry Rome, whose reward for some of the best investigative reporting you’ll ever see in a student newspaper was a proposed school board policy directing his teacher to better police the “taste” of the newspaper to make sure nothing “dangerously offensive” gets printed: http://tiny.cc/96lsJ

We hope you’ll bookmark and return to this blog regularly, and that you’ll help us help the Henry Romes of the world experience independence as something more than an entry in a history book.