A clear school policy protecting student press freedom can prevent many censorship conflicts.
In addition to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, states can provide additional free speech protection their own citizens by enacting state laws or regulations.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed HB1432 (now Act 912) into law in April 2019. The law now covers all school-sponsored student “media” as opposed to all “publications.” The law will now apply more widely to non-traditional students. Read the amendment
Theft of free-distribution newspapers by those who object to the newspaper's content is a frequent problem for the college student media. Although the SPLC believes that newspaper thieves can be prosecuted in most jurisdictions under existing theft laws, in 1994 Maryland became the first state to pass a law explicitly criminalizing the taking of free newspapers.
Lawmakers unanimously passed HB1231 (now Act 395) in March 2019, which expanded rights initially only granted to K-12 journalists under the 1995 Student Publications Act to cover college journalists as well. The new law protects public college student journalists in the state from interference from their administrators, and protects their advisers from retaliation should their students publish something administrators… Continue reading Act 395 Amending the Arkansas Student Publications Act (2019)
In 2018, Washington became the 14th state to sign a law protecting the rights of student journalists.
The Student Journalists’ Freedom of Expression Act was introduced on February 16, 2017, and signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo on July 18, 2017.
The Nevada New Voices legislation was signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval on June 2, 2017 and became effective on October 1, 2017.
Vermont New Voices legislation was incorporated into House Bill 513, which was signed into law by Governor Phil Scott on May 23, 2017.
After passing the Illinois legislature with unanimous support, the Illinois New Voices Act was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner on July 29, 2016.