New Voices is a student-powered nonpartisan grassroots movement of state-based activists who seek to protect student press freedom with state laws. These laws counteract the impact of the 1988 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier Supreme Court decision, which dramatically changed the balance of student press rights. New Voices supporters include advocates in law, education, journalism and civics who want schools and colleges to be more welcoming places for student voices.
On March 23, 2023, West Virginia became the 17th state to restore and protect student press freedom! Congratulations and thank you to the advocates who made this possible.
The 2023 legislative year is underway. In 2023, New Voices bills were introduced in Connecticut, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia (where New Voices become law!). Several state legislatures are still in session; click the links to find out more.
For more information or to get involved, contact our New Voices Advocacy and Organizing Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Along with your contact information (including city and state), please indicate if you’re a student, educator or other interested party.
Here are the 17 states with laws that protect the First Amendment rights of student journalists:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Read the specifics about the laws and regulations here. In addition, Virginia law protects the rights of college students only, and there are codes protecting the rights of student journalists in the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.
During state legislative sessions in 2018, bills were introduced in seven states and passed into law in one (Washington).
Key tools and resources
- TOOLKIT: Advocate for Student Press Freedom in your School District - This guide will give you all the basic tools you need to protect and expand student press freedom in your school district.
- Model resolution to introduce to your City Council in support of New Voices legislation - Talk with your city, county or town council members about introducing this model resolution to show your community's support for the student press.
- Script for Contacting Legislators - Use this phone script and tips and for contacting your legislator and encouraging them to support legislation protecting student press freedom.
- Who New Voices Protects - Does your state have legislation protecting student press freedom? Let's talk about which states have which laws.
- A free press shouldn’t stop at the schoolyard
- Journalism Education Association – Scholastic Press Rights Committee
- 2016 report: College Student Journalism Under Fire
- New Voices Idaho Study: A Survey and Recommendations for Other States