Constitution Day lesson plan highlights North Dakota’s new student press rights protections

In 1952, Congress directed every public school to set aside time on Sept. 17 – Constitution Day – to teach young people about constitutional values and principles.

New Voices legislation provides young people with meaningful free-speech rights. It protects student journalists from censorship at the college and K-12 levels — protection that extends to independent journalistic work as well as work in school-sponsored media — as well as outlawing retaliation against journalism advisers for what their students write.

To mark advances toward giving students the actual benefit of the Constitution that they’re expected to study and learn, the SPLC has created a Constitution Day lesson plan about the New Voices Act that is designed for use in North Dakota schools – but could be adapted for use elsewhere. It is especially applicable in any state with comparable statutory protection for student journalists – consult this map if you’re not sure about your own state).

Download a free copy of the Constitution Day lesson plan, including teacher notes and discussion questions, here.