Free speech and high school newspapers

12 06 2008

A high school student in California studied flag burning in his American government class. So he wrote an editorial about it for the student newspaper, and the newspaper ran a photo of a flag burning. He thought it would make a good article on free speech.

The principal shut down the newspaper.

Student Press Law Center Report reports out that it is a violation of California state law for a student newspaper to be censored unless it is libelous, obscene, or incites students to break the law. In addition, it is illegal for administrators to retaliate based on student speech.

The Contra Costa Times reports that the bill applies to colleges only, and needs to be expanded to high schools.

If the bill doesn’t apply to high schools, it should. Public high schools are public entities and should be held to the highest standard of open and free press- especially when it comes to budding citizens who are barely learning to vote.

First of all, you don’t teach kids about the First Amendment and then stomp all over it when they try to exercise it. Second of all…. I don’t think this needs a second of all. It’s the kind of thing that makes me want to scratch my red-white-and-blue eyeballs out.

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