Pennsylvania administrative code bars censorship of student media “simply because it is critical of the school or its administration,” but this provision has not proven strong enough to stop all undue censorship of student journalists. In addition, the administrative code continues to allow for prior review of student media and fails to protect student media advisers from retaliation when they support their student journalists’ press freedom. A strong state law is the best way to protect student journalists and their advisers, and support a robust and free student press.
New Voices legislation was introduced in Pennsylvania for the first time during the 2019-2020 legislative session. Sponsored by Senator Andy Dinniman, SB806 was referred to the Education committee. HB2302, sponsored by Representative Melissa Shusterman, was introduced to the House Education committee in February 2020. Hearings have not yet been scheduled.
- Contact your state legislators to let them know why this bill is important to you. Find out who your legislators are here. Not sure what to say? Check out our phone script and letter-writing tips here.
- Learn more about New Voices legislation by reading our FAQs. Other resources are available here.
- Check out New Voices of Pennsylvania’s website and fill out the survey to help demonstrate the extent of censorship in Pennsylvania.
- Get looped in with volunteer coordinators to let them know about your efforts and learn about other ways to get involved:
- New Voices of Pennsylvania: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Like and follow New Voices of Pennsylvania on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Enlist all your friends in Pennsylvania to raise their voices in support of this measure.
- If you are a student or adviser who was censored, intimidated or retaliated against, contact SPLC’s legal hotline.
Why Pennsylvania needs New Voices
- Freedom of the Press For All…Minus Students. New Voices Pennsylvania (1-25-2020)
- Student journalists celebrate Student Press Freedom Day with call for New Voices in Pa. FHS Press, Freedom High School, Freedom, Pa. (1-30-2019)
- High school editor boycotts graduation after school suppresses sexual misconduct records and censors stories. Student Press Law Center (6-19-2018)
- Censoring a student newspaper may be legal, but it’s not right. LNP|LancasterOnline (2-27-2018)
- Student government and college paper in Pennsylvania clash over publishing budget. Student Press Law Center (10-2-2017)
- Neshaminy High School revokes student newspaper editor’s access to post and edit online stories. Student Press Law Center (6-13-2016)
You can see the list of national endorsers at the bottom of this page.