Q: What is a “public forum for student expression?”
A: A student publication is a public forum for student expression when school officials have given student editors the authority to make their own content decisions. This can be accomplished through an official policy or by simply allowing a publication to operate without interference from school officials. If a student publication is a public forum for student expression, then students are entitled to stronger First Amendment protection. As long as the publication contains no unlawful content (libel, obscenity, etc.) and its distribution would not seriously disrupt school, officials cannot legally censor it.
Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.”
Have a question you’d like answered? Tell us in the form below. (Not all questions will be chosen for Ask SPLC.)
If you need immediate help, contact our Legal Hotline.