While you were taking a holiday, so did the Bill of Rights and government transparency

Over the weekend, quite a few stories involving student rights caught our eye. In case you missed them over the long holiday, here’s everything you need to know:

  • In New York, a high school senior was suspended after he started a hashtag for students to discuss the school district’s budget, which failed to get voter approval last week. Patrick Brown told The Post-Standard that he and other students were worried about athletic and extracurricular activities being cut, and so started suggesting alternatives on Twitter with the hashtag “#shitCNSshouldcut.” Brown said he was suspended for violating the school’s cellphone policy — at least one of his tweets was sent during school — and for “inciting a social media riot.”
  • In Illinois, a social studies teacher faces possible discipline for talking with students about the Bill of Rights. Yep, you read that correctly. According to reports in The Daily Herald, after being asked to administer a survey to students that asked about drug and alcohol use, John Dryden told his class they had a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves (students’ names were printed atop each survey). The survey was optional, and many students opted out after Dryden’s lesson. Now, Dryden says he’s at risk of having a letter placed in his personnel file, which students and parents are protesting.
  • Last Wednesday, three reporters from The Oregon Commentator, a conservative journal at the University of Oregon, and the Daily Emerald, the school’s student newspaper, were kicked out of a university senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee meeting. According to reports from the Commentator, reporters were told to leave when the group began discussing revenue projections. “Some members of the IAC referred to the projections as “confidential … sensitive information,” the Commentator reports.
  • Fewer than one in eight New York City high schools have a newspaper or print journalism class, The New York Times reported this weekend. “Shrinking staffs, budget cuts and a new focus on core academic subjects” are to blame, according to the Times.
Also over the long weekend, our good friends Mary Beth Tinker and Mike Hiestand hit 50 percent of their “Tinker Tour” fundraising goal. This fall, the two plan to travel across the U.S. to speak with students about the First Amendment and about civic engagement. There are four days left to donate, and every bit helps.