Wednesday, October 12, 2005

FREE SPEECH: When student newspapers are gagged, can mainstream be far behind?

When student publications are censored by school or college administrators, how is that conceptually similar to, or different, from the government censoring Anthony Haswell by jailing him under the Sedition Act?

Society of Professional Journalists: "Ruling threatens students' First Amendment protections

Rarely do students concern themselves with 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions. The pressures of school, distractions of social lives and whirlwind of activity in Madison leave little time to consider the implications of recent court opinions. However, if the 7th Circuit continues to hear cases like Hosty v. Carter, that blissful ignorance will become entirely inappropriate, even impossible. Students at many Wisconsin schools may soon have to join the ranks of their peers at Illinois universities who have suddenly become conscious of the court's power to disrupt their daily lives. ... Student editors at Governors State were outraged in 2001 with Dean Carter's demand they remove articles attacking her credibility. If the paper didn't agree, it would be denied funding. The students, including Innovator reporter Margaret Hosty, and other journalism organizations quickly filed suit, charging Carter's actions violated their First Amendment right to free speech. Previously, Dean Carter would have lost her suit based on precedent set by the 1988 case of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. In Hazelwood, the court held schools could censor the content of high school newspapers because they had a compelling interest to protect young students from inappropriate content. In a footnote to the decision, college newspapers were spared as the court refused to extend its decision to all student publications, perhaps in hopes of avoiding the controversy that is now stewing across its jurisdiction. With the Hosty v. Carter decision, that loophole has been closed, and college newspapers can no longer expect to slip through speech restrictions.

Source: Sarah Howard, The University of Wisconsin-Madison Badger Herald

ALSO SEE: Student Law Press Center analysis of impact of Hosty v. Carter and the earlier Hazlewood decision:

"The effects of Hazelwood on our public secondary schools have been predictable. The government officials running our high schools did exactly what the Founding Fathers knew government officials would always do absent a clear limit on their ability to control speech: they exercised such control. Administrative censorship of high school student media since 1988 has skyrocketed. Calls for legal help to the Student Press Law Center are up more than four-fold. Newspapers at many high schools have taken on the look and feel of the school district's public relations office. Others have simply folded up shop. "

Also see the discussion of what constitutes, under Supreme Court precedent, a "designated public forum."
LOOK: HERE and also HERE.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?