New Voices of Maryland is a movement to guarantee student journalists the freedom to bring the public the news.
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“The student press has played a crucial role in training young people to be the journalists of the future, and training kids to have a critical frame of mind and be engaged in current events and the big questions of the times.”
Senate Bill 764 became law effective Oct. 1, 2016, with Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. The bill protects the rights of high school and college journalists as well as protecting their faculty advisers against retaliation, making it one of the most comprehensive press-freedom laws in the country.
Click on the documents below to read the testimonies of support for the Maryland New Voices bill.
“[This bill will] allow our student journalists and their schoolmates to learn and better appreciate and understand the importance of free speech and free press to our free American society.” — The Cumberland Times-News
“Journalism instruction is designed to train students in the exercise of a free press and to put the First Amendment into practice in their school communities.” — Kent County News
“Since 1988, eight states have passed free student press legislation restoring reasonable free press rights to their students.” — The Star Democrat
“The future of journalism…is moving soon enough into the hands of the next generation. Anything that can aid that future should be heartily encouraged.” — Maryland Independent
“We support the bill, for the future of free speech—both in print and digitally.” — The Calvert Recorder
“Hazelwood…gave school and university administrators the right to censor student speech, [but] provided little guidance as to when that censorship was appropriate, leaving students, teachers, and administrators confused about their rights and responsibilities under the law.” — The Enterprise
“It’s tempting to say that principals and superintendents shouldn’t be second-guessed because they have demanding jobs. But it is always “easier” for government officials to ignore individual rights. It would “easier” to solve crimes if suspects could be beaten until they confessed. Respecting constitutional values means doing things the hard way because it is also the right way.” — Frank LoMonte, Education Week.
“The protections offered by the New Voices Maryland Act will make it much easier for teachers across the curriculum to model the First Amendment for their students. The Newseum Institute’s 2015 State of the First Amendment Survey showed that only ten percent of Americans are aware that freedom of the press is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution. Since the Hazelwood decision, we have graduated generations of students who find the protections they enjoy under the First Amendment hard to believe when they have seen them violated on a day-to-day basis in their public schools. Perhaps the most important protection the New Voices Maryland Act offers is that it will better allow Civics education to high school students that will make them see the U.S. Constitution as a real and living document that defends their rights as citizens of our nation and our state.” — The Maryland-D.C. Scholastic Press Association
“The relationship between student journalists (and their advisors) and school administrations is inherently adversarial. And in that dynamic, school administrators hold all the power of retaliation and censorship. Of course they would like to control the content of student media—through censorship, if necessary—because they would like to control the positive image of their school. That means the protected party in this scenario must be the student journalist, and her right to free speech. Here’s why: The only way democracy can work is with an educated electorate—and the two pillars of an educated electorate are free speech and the related free press.” — Karen Houppert, Editor of City Paper.