1st Amendment News

Fight for student free speech rages on

High School journalists and their advisers surveyed at a national conference in November say that censorship is commonplace, reports the Student Press Law Center, January 9, 2013. Forty-two percent of students and 41 percent of advisers surveyed said school administrators asked them not to publish content. Fifty-eight percent of advisers said someone other than students made the final decision on content.

Aside from censorship of publications, important questions concerning student free speech rights loom for 2013, writes David L. Hudson Jr., First Amendment Center, December 31, 2012. Among them: the extent to which school authorities should punish students for off-campus speech; the constitutionality of cyberbullying laws; and what in student speech and writing constitutes a “true threat?”

In the meantime, a San Francisco high school senior was suspended from school and faces expulsion for writing a poem about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut with the line, “I understand the killings in Connecticut. I know why he pulled the trigger.” The student’s mother said the school over reacted about her daughter’s words and that she had no history of violence. KGO-TV, December 27, 2012, by Alan Wang. -db

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