\nVIRGINIA - Americans' support for student free press rights\nis waning, according to a recent survey.
The State of the First Amendment, a poll conducted by The Freedom\nForum First Amendment Center and the Center for Survey Research\nand Analysis at the University of Connecticut, reveals diminishing\nsupport for all of the First Amendment freedoms when compared\nto a 1997 survey, but most notably the freedom of the press.
More than half of the respondents said they believe the press\nhas too much freedom, and 60 percent said high school students\nshould not be free to print stories about controversial issues\nwithout school officials' approval.
Paul McMasters, the First Amendment ombudsman at the Freedom\nForum, acknowledged that it is difficult to establish trends over\na two-year period, but attributed the decline in support for the\nFirst Amendment to Americans' desire to have more calm and security\nin their lives.
"They think the best way to do this is by shutting other\npeople up," he said.
McMasters said the best way to increase the public's support\nfor the First Amendment is through education.
"The people in our poll tell us the educational system\nis doing a bad job of teaching them about their freedoms, particularly\nFirst Amendment freedoms," McMasters said.