Federal appeals court ruling affirms students’ off-campus First Amendment rights

A cheerleader posted a Snapchat with the caption “f*** cheer.” A Pennsylvania federal appeals court said the school violated her First Amendment rights when they kicked her off the team. (Flickr / Patrick Feller CC by 2.0)

PENNSYLVANIA — A high school student was kicked off the cheerleading team for cursing the team on Snapchat. She filed a lawsuit. A federal appeals court's ruling is a major step toward securing First Amendment rights for students in person and online when they’re off campus. In B.L. v. Mahanoy Area School District, the Third Circuit… Continue reading Federal appeals court ruling affirms students’ off-campus First Amendment rights

Student journalists covering protests face unprecedented violence from police

Daily Lobo photographer Liam DeBonis works in the field during protests in Albuquerque, New Mexico / Photo by Sharon Chischilly

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

SPLC statement on supporting Black journalists and dismantling systemic racism

"The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”– Ida B. Wells, The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader Black Lives Matter. The stories of Black lives matter. The telling of those stories and objective reporting of those truths matter. The Student Press Law Center stands by the efforts of Black… Continue reading SPLC statement on supporting Black journalists and dismantling systemic racism

How to communicate to police that you’re a journalist while covering a protest

Law enforcement may not be familiar with the student press. They may see you only as students, and not know or understand the essential role of student journalists in covering public events such as protests. This letter may be helpful in providing law enforcement with evidence of your claims. Carry a physical copy (do not… Continue reading How to communicate to police that you’re a journalist while covering a protest

Student coverage of racial justice protests

Protestors in Wilmington (NC) gather on the steps of City Hall downtown. (Panda Omo)

Student journalists are on the frontlines of protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25. Through their coverage, students are keeping their communities informed on protests, curfews and local government response, despite attacks from police and risk of exposure to COVID-19. In order to recognize and express our appreciation for… Continue reading Student coverage of racial justice protests

Student Press Law Center condemns arrest of CNN crew in Minneapolis as an affront to U.S. democracy and example of racial bias

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 29, 2020 Contact: Diana Mitsu Klos, director of engagement (202) 728-7267/ dmk@splc.org Download the statement as a PDF The Student Press Law Center condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and his crew in Minneapolis during a live broadcast early this morning, Friday, May 29. Jimenez was… Continue reading Student Press Law Center condemns arrest of CNN crew in Minneapolis as an affront to U.S. democracy and example of racial bias

Students face restricted access to open records and meetings due to COVID-19

creativesignature / Pixabay

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, student journalists are facing issues obtaining public records and accessing what should be open meetings. SPLC staff attorney Sommer Ingram Dean said a majority of the calls to SPLC's legal hotline in March and April have been about COVID-19 related access issues. She said student journalists have called about:  Experiencing… Continue reading Students face restricted access to open records and meetings due to COVID-19

State supreme court rules UNC-Chapel Hill must release sexual assault disciplinary records

Photo courtesy of Angelica Edwards, it was taken on March 23, 2020.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled University of North Carolina must hand over student, faculty, and staff rape, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct records requested by the university's student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel.

WEBINAR: SPLC and PEN America talk to leading college journalists about how COVID-19 has changed their newsrooms

Student journalists discussed their transition to remote reporting via Zoom in a virtual roundtable with SPLC and PEN America on Friday, April 24

https://youtu.be/qLO97YLr57s On April 24, the Student Press Law Center and PEN America’s Campus Free Speech Program hosted an online forum with college journalists who discussed the challenges they are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The forum was moderated by Nicholas “Niko” Perez, program coordinator for campus free speech at PEN America. It also featured… Continue reading WEBINAR: SPLC and PEN America talk to leading college journalists about how COVID-19 has changed their newsrooms

“We’re documenting history”: How students are reporting, producing and distributing yearbooks during the coronavirus pandemic

Photo courtesy of Samantha Berry, yearbook adviser at Bridgeland High School in Cypress, Texas. Because the school was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Berry's students had to work late nights on laptops from cars parked in the school's lot to get the server access they needed to finish the yearbook.

At the beginning of March, yearbook staffs around the country were putting the final touches on spreads they'd been working on for months, getting ready to send final copies to printing plants to be printed and distributed like normal. Now, just weeks later, the COVID-19 outbreak has thrown yearbook students and advisers into chaos.  RELATED:… Continue reading “We’re documenting history”: How students are reporting, producing and distributing yearbooks during the coronavirus pandemic