District’s refusal to mail documents costs $58,575

WASHINGTON -- Following a four-year court battle, a state judge ordered a school district to pay more than $58,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union in March for refusing to mail the organization 13 pages of public documents.

The ACLU of Washington requested documents describing school district policies and copies of disciplinary records in December 1995 from Blaine School District in northwest Washington.

Principals censor newspapers at two Calif. schools

CALIFORNIA -- Principals at two different high schools have censored their schools' student newspapers in recent months, despite a 23-year-old law that grants free-expression rights to students in the Golden State.

The principal of Nogales High School, in the Los Angeles suburb of La Puente, confiscated all 2,400 copies of the Feb.

Bills would make high school athletic associations more open

Bills would make high school athletic associations more open The Georgia and Pennsylvania legislatures introduced bills this session that would require their states' interscholastic athletic associations to abide by state open-records and open-meetings laws.

The Georgia Equity in Sports Act would deny education funding to high schools whose interscholastic sports are regulated by athletic associations not adhering to Georgia open-meetings and open-records statutes.

Students hand out underground paper off campus after school administrators threaten suspension

OHIO -- Four months after they were threatened with suspension for handing out an underground newspaper, the editors of Lockdown finally distributed a sequel to their controversial first issue -- across the street from their high school.

Devin Aeh, the editor of Lockdown, had been trying for months to win the right to hand out her publication at Nelsonville-York High School but decided in February to distribute it across the street from the school to avoid a possible suspension.

"I guess I'm glad that we were just getting to pass it out at all," Aeh said.

Students fight Internet censorship, restrictions

A Pennsylvania student expelled in December for an online conversation with a friend has filed a lawsuit against his private high school.

In the America Online Instant Messenger conversation, which took place from the students' homes, the student said "stupid people should be banished or killed." At the end of the conversation he said he did not really think stupid people should be killed, instead saying they were annoying.

How school authorities at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood received a transcript of the exchange is uncertain.

Editor says officials punished him for publication

NEW YORK -- A Buffalo high school student suspended for five days in March is claiming that administrators violated his First Amendment rights by punishing him for an independent newspaper he distributed at school.

But Clarence Central School District superintendent Thomas Coseo said Steven Harnisch was punished for his defiant attitude toward school rules and personnel, not his paper.

"He was suspended for disorderly conduct," Coseo said.

Universities block access to popular music site

INDIANA -- The heavy metal band Metallica sued a popular MP3-format music retrieval site and several universities in April for copyright infringement in an effort to end online music piracy.

Users of the site, Napster.com, are able to share song files between computers connected to the Internet.

Teaching freedom where it does not exist

Thirty-seven teachers from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee gathered at The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn., in November for a conference designed to give them materials and training to better teach their students about the First Amendment.

Some would regard the effort as quixotic.