Up the Right Grove
The bill allows administrative scrutiny over student publications for content that is obscene, defamatory, or disruptive, but places all liability on the students themselves. Educators must play a prominent role in teaching students journalistic responsibility and ethics, but at the same time prepare them for the realities of the real world. This bill reflects these two values.
I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Rep. Upthegrove earlier this month while attending a conference sponsored by J-Ideas in Tampa at the Poynter Institute. His passion for the legislation is admirable, and his efforts were spurred over a cup of coffee he shared with his constituent Brian Schraum, a journalism student at Washington State University. Brian was also in Tampa and spoke eloquently about the need for such legislation based on his experiences as a student journalist at both the high school and college level.
For more information on these developments in Washington State check out the J-Ideas web site. I will keep you posted on the bill's fate, and encourage you to visit the Freedom Museum from February 3rd through March 25th as we debut a special exhibit in the same spirit titled "Speech at the Schoolhouse Gate: Students' Use of First Amendment Freedoms." For those of you who live outside the Chicagoland area, portions of the exhibit will be featured on the Freedom Museum web site.