Student’s Guide to the 2023-24 School Year

As you prepare for this school year, know that SPLC always has your back!

In this guide you’ll find:

You can also explore all of our additional helpful resources for student journalists here.

Need Help? Have Questions? Contact the Hotline!

Contact SPLC’s free legal hotline for help with censorship, freedom of information, copyright, and more, or to have an attorney provide a pre-publication libel check — we answer every call.

Censorship Red Flags: What to Look Out For

Censorship isn’t always cut and dry. So, our legal experts compiled a list of a few important red flags to keep an eye out for so you’re better able to spot censorship when it’s happening and stand up against it. 

Many of the students who share their stories of self-censorship with SPLC indicate that they didn’t know they were engaged in self-censorship at the time. Take our self-censorship quiz and share it with your newsroom so you can learn how to better identify and resist self-censorship. 

And remember, if you need help dealing with censorship, contact SPLC’s hotline!

Are you following us?

Our team is always developing new legal guides and resources to ensure you are equipped to do your job as a student journalist: telling the stories that matter in your community. Here are a few tools to keep handy as you start off this school year (we always suggest you read them before you need them!).

Explore our full library of legal guides here.

Tips from fellow student journalists

Last school year, we sat down to chat with student journalists from across the country for Behind the Story. They shared their excellent work with us, including tons of helpful tips for other student journalists looking to pursue similar stories. To help spark some inspiration as you kick off this school year, we compiled some of their top tricks and tips for you to keep in mind:  

Take Action to Protect Student Press Freedom!

Make a difference in your community by getting involved with New Voices, a student-powered, nonpartisan movement of state-based advocates who seek to protect student press freedom with state laws! Use our state-by-state guide to find out exactly what you can do to restore and protect student press freedom in your state, or contact to learn more about how you can take action.

The Number One Thing to Understand About Your Adviser

Your adviser is there to support you, but when it comes right down to it, they are also a school employee. That means that if censorship occurs, they are limited in their ability to fight for you. Doing so could cost them their job.

Courts have made clear that it is students’ legal rights — not the adviser’s — that are at stake. The bottom line is that you must be willing to stand up to protect your own free speech rights. Your adviser being fired for insubordination does no one any good.

Subscribe to SPLC’s Weekly Newsletter

Want the latest news about student press freedom, excellent examples of student journalism, tips for your own newsroom and more? Sign up for SPLC’s Weekly Newsletter!