Student Press Freedom Day — Jan. 30, 2019

It’s time to raise your voice.

Make plans now to take part in a nationwide Student Press Freedom Day Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. Use #StudentPressFreedom on social media.

For more than three decades, far too many student journalists have been censored by image-conscious school administrators, or intimidated to self-censor or not report on “controversial” topics that matter to their peers or their community.

The legacy of the 1988 Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier Supreme Court decision is a shameful one. Students across the country are demanding reform at the state level. 

Fourteen states have enacted “New Voices” legislation to protect the First Amendment press rights of student journalists and prevent against their advisers and teachers. Grassroots nonpartisan coalitions powered by students and other volunteers have taken root in many other states.

The Student Press Law Center is calling for students around the country to plan and lead events to demand #StudentPressFreedom on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Coordinated Op-ed Campaign:

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Build on these, and make your own:

  • Publish an editorial in your student publication on/around Jan. 30. Imagine what a powerful statement can be made if several hundred high school and college student news organizations spoke out at once. SPLC will be curating and sharing editorials published around the country.
  • See if you have a New Voices grassroots campaign in your state and coordinate activities with it. Or, if you are one of 14 states with a New Voices law, create an activity that celebrates and calls attention to it.
  • Submit an op-ed or letter to editor to your local newspaper or TV-radio news station to get published or aired on Jan. 30.
  • Get the staff and all your friends together to post anti-censorship messages to Twitter and tag @SPLC. On Instagram, tag @studentpresslawcenter.
  • Engage your artist, musician and theater friends to help out.
  • Create T-shirts with a slogan that supports free press and raise money for your student news organization.
  • Distribute stickers or buttons with anti-censorship messages.
  • Plan a rally or school-wide meeting to talk about why journalism matters.
  • Host a “No Censorship” bake/water/snacks sale to support your publication and distribute information about New Voices efforts in your state (Maybe even sell Cure Hazelwood bracelets too.)
  • Produce videos in which students and advisers talk about why they value a free press.

Featured Participants:

  • The Express Newspaper of San Juan Hills High School in San Juan Capistrano, CA designed a T-shirt celebrating key clauses of California Ed Code 48907. Three dollars from each shirt sale will be donated to the Student Press Law Center. Purchase a shirt.