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.