ILLINOIS — In 2016, Illinois passed the Speech Rights of Student Journalists Act, which protects student journalists at public schools from censorship by their administration. But the language in the law does not protect advisers from retaliation over news stories their students produce. Those protections were initially part of HB 5902, but were stripped from… Continue reading Illinois has a law protecting student press freedom, so why is censorship still happening?
Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Legal Question of the Week.” Q: Can my public school administration require us to cover a story in the yearbook? A: Generally no. In addition to protecting one’s right to speak, the important flip-side to the First Amendment is… Continue reading Can my public school administration require us to cover a story in the yearbook?
SPLC joined the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in sending a December 14 letter to Frostburg State University President Ronald Nowaczyk expressing concern after the university targeted a student journalist and directed the student newspaper to investigate and punish her. Read the full letter: https://splc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/FIRE-and-SPLC-Letter-to-Frostburg-State-University-December-14-2020.pdf
VERMONT — When the University of Vermont instituted a hiring freeze due to COVID-19, the administration decided to hire an interim student media adviser already working at the school as a professor of English. But they did so without permission or input from the independent outlets that would work with this adviser. Now, just over… Continue reading UVM hires new adviser without student media’s input; adviser threatens editor’s job
CALIFORNIA — Cassandra Garcia, a rising senior at Rialto High School in Southern California is fighting to bring back a journalism course at her high school after her principal removed the class from the fall schedule without informing students or the adviser. Garcia is a reporter for the Medieval Times, Rialto's student newspaper. The school’s… Continue reading A high school newspaper was cut during the pandemic. Is it a sign of things to come?
Student journalists covering nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism are being met with unprecedented pushback from law enforcement. According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, there have been more than 440 reported aggressions against the press — including high school and college journalists — covering public protests in at least 140 cities across… Continue reading Student journalists covering protests face unprecedented violence from police
The Student Press Law Center, joined by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the College Media Association, condemns the attack on student journalists from Ohio State University who were covering a protest in Columbus on June 1. Journalists from The Lantern were lawfully covering a protest taking place adjacent to the campus. Confronted… Continue reading The Student Press Law Center condemns the attack on Ohio State University student journalists who were covering protests
Florida International University's student government cut the budget of the student paper, PantherNOW, for the fourth year in a row on March 24. This came just two weeks after the paper reported the Elections Board violated an election code that said SGA must publish the ballot a week before the election, leaving students unaware of… Continue reading Florida college SGA cuts paper’s budget following election violation story
UPDATE: No criminal charges are being filed after 13 newsstands were emptied at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. On Feb. 26, 2020, members of VCU's Student Government Association were seen trashing copies of The Commonwealth Times that included an article detailing ongoing conflicts within SGA. According to a statement by the VCU Police Department, detectives… Continue reading No criminal charges filed after VCU student government members trashed 875 copies of The Commonwealth Times
Editor’s note: Check out the Student Press Law Center’s guide to covering the coronavirus pandemic for resources and tips to help with your reporting. Advisers, see SPLC's resources for teaching remotely. How do you find story ideas when your students aren't at school? How do you transition tried-and-true lesson plans to work in an online format? How do… Continue reading Student media advisers in new territory during campus shut downs over the coronavirus