Just one year ago, four organizations renowned for promoting free speech on college campuses issued a dire warning: The independence of college media is under attack. Often, college officials sought the power to censor student journalism.
The iconic Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case sparked debate on whether or not high school writers had the same first amendment rights as professional reporters. This shift in how the country interpreted the first amendment has led to an uprising of journalists and administration fighting over the right to publish controversial articles.
The impact of the case has, and will continue to affect how student reporting is written in schools across the nation. Hazelwood high school from St.
Reynolds, the principal at the time, turned down the articles, concerned that the fake names of the girls would be discovered and that problems would arise.
He took two pages out of the paper, seven articles total, so that they would not be published. The students did not find out until the day of publication. An editor, and two writers sued. To better understand, you should know the difference between prior review, and prior restraint.
Prior review is when administration looks over the paper before publication. Nothing is removed or censored. Prior restraint is when the administration removes and censors material.
It is argued that prior review often leads to the more serious prior restraint. After the incredibly important Tinker v. Des Moines case, High Schools had believed in, and had conducted common practice in writing articles free of prior restraint.
The Tinker case established that freedom of speech was perfectly acceptable in a school environment, and that no administrator had viable reason to prevent it.
Now that Hazelwood had submitted a lawsuit based on writing, and not symbolic speech, the court had to shift the focus into a new frame of mind. Basically, if the article was to disrupt school activities or get in the way of teaching, that administration had the right to censor it.
Also, if the article would make the school appear to lean in one direction politically, that it could be censored. The Supreme Court down a man due to retirement voted in the favor of Mr.
Reynolds, and in that instant changed the rights of student media. On the minority side, Justices Brennan, Marshall, and Blackmun.
In an earlier case, Bethel v. The Student Law Press Center SPLC is one of many groups dedicated to trying to end student censorship, and bring student media back to where it used to be.
On their website, they list the symptoms of Hazelwood, and how to cure it from your school. The scariest part of all this, is the result and repercussions felt by high schools since. Fromcalls to the Student Law Press Center rose 12 percent. In the first four months ofit was up percent from the same time a year earlier.
From tocalls for help increased percent. And according to the SPLC, it is not declining. Perhaps the worst of it all, is that the advisers teachers are reporting an increase in threats to job security for refusing to follow administrative requests.
Although now a year-old case, it is still heavily debated. What does the approval of administration to censor writing do to the future journalists of the world? Students are afraid to write the big stories, to give the news, out of fear for administrative backlash.
So what do you think? Should a student lose first amendment rights because of the impact it could have on the school?At first, the district court concluded that the decision of the principal to prohibit the publishing of certain student articles was inappropriate and violated the student journalists’ First Amendment free speech rights (Facts and Case Summary – Hazelwood v.
Abstract High school students have experienced for decades the complications presented by First Amendment freedom of speech on school grounds. But the tone and model of Bethel — control of school-sponsored student expression reflective of values the school wants to teach — suggested, two years before Hazelwood that if a press rights case came to the High Court, the same rationale applied in Bethel would also apply to an official student publication.
In , Hazelwood School District v. Hazelwood lost its first fight in the “US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri,” had it reversed in the court of appeals, and eventually landed on the desk of the Supreme Court. The big question was whether or not a school paper qualified as a “Forum for student expression.”.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Anaheim, California on September 9, , commends the work of the SPLC and its former executive director Frank LoMonte for their untiring efforts to undo the ill effects of the Hazelwood decision of the U.S.
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