In January 2018 students at Herriman High School’s newspaper, The Telegraph in Utah, published a story about a teacher who was fired for allegedly sending inappropriate texts to a female student. The school shut down the paper’s website and took over the publication’s social media. When the website was brought back online, the article was missing.
The Student Press Law Center’s Senior Legal Counsel, Mike Hiestand, helped the students file public records requests and obtain records for their investigation. Heistand also provided advice about challenging the censorship.
The Telegraph Editor-in-Chief Max Gordon and news editor Conor Spahr decided to start their own news website, The Telegram, and publish the censored story there. Heistand connected the students with attorneys from the SPLC’s Attorney Referral Network to provide pro bono legal services.
Michael Anderson and Jeff Hunt, attorneys at Parr Brown Gee & Loveless in Salt Lake City, continue to assist the students from Herriman High School as they try to get their censored article back up on The Telegraph website.
“It’s great to have a large organization like [the SPLC] that has your back and can support local, high school journalism,” Spahr said.
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