14 states have passed legislation to protect student journalists.

Why isn’t Texas one of them?

Student journalists have a unique role in their campus communities to inform students, faculty, administrators, parents and other stakeholders about the condition of their educational experience. All of these consumers of student media need uncensored journalism to inform them of their school’s achievements and its shortcomings. Unfortunately, some administrators have used the Hazelwood decision as a means to protect their own images or the image of the school at the cost of losing free, honest and ethically reported journalism. 

Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier case of 1988. This case ruled that school administrators can censor a school-sponsored publication if they had a “legitimate pedagogical reason,” but a “pedagogical reason” wasn’t very well defined. This leaves everything up to the opinion of Administrators. And it also makes it almost impossible to win with our circumstances. The SPLC also taught us about a new piece of legislation that is making its way throughout the U.S. called New Voices. This legislation protects student journalists from being censored by administrators and in some bills, like the one in Texas, it protects teachers’ rights as well.

We are leading and empowering a statewide coalition of advisers and student journalists to ensure complete press freedom across the state.

New Voices Texas is focused on student press freedom for the state of Texas. We want to ensure that student media organizations aren’t censored, prior re- strained or retaliated against simply for doing their job.

New Voices Texas is focused on transparency, accountability and student empowerment. We prioritize the First Amendment and student expression.

“If the true freedom of the press is to decide for itself what to publish and when to publish it, the true responsibility of the press must be to assert and defend that freedom… What the press in America needs is less inhibition, not more restraint.”
– Tom Wicker

Central and South Texas Regional Organizer, Amoli Agarwal

As the Regional Organizer for Central and South Texas (ESC Regions 1, 2, 3, 12, 13, and 20) of New Voices Texas, I work to consolidate the ideas of student press freedoms with more extensive goals written in our Constitution throughout a wide range of groups in Central and South Texas. With outreach to student publication advisors and the use…

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West Texas Regional Organizer and Club Development Officer, MaKalie Farmer

As the West Texas (ESC Regions 14-19) Regional Organizing Officer and the Club Development Officer of New Voices Texas, I work to spread the story of student journalists across the state and reach out to other student publications to let them know they have a voice and a right to be heard.  I am responsible for contacting student publications across…

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Legislative Officer, Carey Beth Wooley

As the Legislative Officer for New Voices Texas, I hold the responsibility of communicating with legislative officials in both the House and the Senate. I work to be a bridge between these legislative bodies and the supporters of New Voices legislation. I will attend meetings with both school board officials and people involved directly in the legislative process. In order…

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North Texas Regional Organizer, Kate Knauff

As the North Texas (ESC Regions 9-11) Regional Organizer of New Voices, I work to educate other high school journalism programs in my surrounding regions about New Voices legislation and how they can show support in the upcoming legislative session. I will do this by encouraging and aiding student journalists and programs in my region to implement New Voices clubs…

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East Texas Regional Organizer and Podcast Editor, Jessica Gil

As the Regional Organizer for East Texas (ESC Regions 4-8) and Podcast Editor of New Voices Texas, I work to ensure that all of the East Texas region is aware of our attempts to pass the New Voices legislation.  This state law will protect student journalists from censorship by school officials and cure problems with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1988…

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Communications Officer, Catharine Li

As the Communications Officer of New Voices Texas, I work to relay important updates about the New Voices movement in Texas. I will ensure that our digital advocacy efforts are carried out in a timely, concise, and clear manner. While coordinating dynamic publicity efforts, I will utilize compelling visuals to amplify informational material, leading outreach projects to mobilize our campaign…

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Education Officer, Keana Saberi

As the Education officer of New Voices Texas, I work to curate educational materials that detail our mission to prioritize the legal rights of student journalists. In conjunction with this effort, I work to inform others on the crucial role of student journalists and how the student press is a fundamental forum highlighting a myriad of perspectives and empowered voices…

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