Administrators often cite the need to control bullying as a valid reason to limit student expression. As the SPLC began reporting more than six years ago, efforts to combat “cyberbullying” have raised important concerns about how much authority school officials should have over what their students say online, away from school. Several states have since passed laws addressing bullying on the Internet.
In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte turns the bullying argument around. He makes the case for uncensored student journalism as a way to expose important problems like bullying and to keep school officials accountable.
At the Student Press Law Center, we hear every day from high-achieving, well-behaved young people who spend their school days in terror – not of gangs or drug dealers, but of out-of-control principals who believe they are above the law. Thin-skinned administrators have prematurely ended the careers of some of the nation’s most respected journalism educators, whose only “crime” was refusing to participate in the unlawful suppression of their students’ viewpoints.
Uncontrolled censorship and retaliation is the unseen school bullying problem – a real and pervasive one that America must acknowledge and legislators must address.
You can read the full column on the Inquirer‘s website.