Red Flag: School officials keep calling us into endless meetings

Red Flag

Censorship isn’t always cut and dry. That’s why, for the next few weeks, the Student Press Law Center is highlighting some common red flags — so you can keep an eye out for censorship.

Write the story. We’ve got your back.

Are you dealing with these red flags? Have you been overtly censored? SPLC is here to help. Contact our legal hotline for assistance.

School officials keep calling our editorial team into meetings about how they don’t like our coverage.

Requiring constant meetings about stories you’ve published or are working on can be a way for school officials to intimidate you and attempt to influence your publication’s content. These actions can be a form of censorship.

Listening and responding to criticism is simply part of doing good journalism. But while constructive criticism can be helpful and should be welcomed, school officials –– or others in your school who have some degree of authority over you –– regularly calling you down to the office berate or threaten you for your work is not okay.

In public schools, such intimidation might violate the First Amendment. It’s important for you to listen more than you talk in these meetings and to take good notes (or even tape the meeting, where permitted), preferably with other staff members or witnesses present.

If this happens to you, contact SPLC’s legal hotline for help.

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