Who We Are Find more about us

The Student Press Law Center is an advocate for student First Amendment rights, for freedom of online speech, and for open government on campus. The SPLC provides information, training and legal assistance at no charge to student journalists and the educators who work with them.

Press Freedom & Censorship

Americans have never been more reliant on students to bring them the day's news. We make sure students can fearlessly share ideas and information free from retaliation.

School Transparency

We're shining a spotlight in the dark crevices of campuses where financial mismanagement and safety hazards hide. Citizen engagement starts with open, accountable government.

Civic Participation

Students want a say in education policy, and policymakers need to hear their unique perspective. We help young people use their voices to advocate for social change.

Online Citizenship

The SPLC advocates for sensible, non-punitive responses to online incivility, with curriculum based on the skills, ethics and values of journalism instead of expulsions and arrests.

Ask for Legal Help

Complete this online form to submit a media law question or report censorship to the SPLC.

Open Record Letter Generator

Submitting an open records request is easy with our fully automated, fill-in-the-blanks state open records law letter generator.

Recent News Read our most recent news and blog posts

3 Bucknell U. students expelled for racist comments during a student radio broadcast

A disc jockey for WVBU, the student radio station at the private liberal arts college in central Pennsylvania, and his two guests were on the air on March 20 when they used “racist and violent language,” Bucknell University President John Bravman said on Thursday in an email to students, faculty and staff.

FERPA defense play: Universities often cite the federal student privacy law to shield athletic scandals

At the University of Oregon, Vanderbilt University and the University of Montana, FERPA was cited to withhold records and information related to sexual assault allegations. FERPA was even cited at Florida State University to withhold records about Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, who has been accused of sexual assault in December 2012.

Supreme Court declines to hear First Amendment challenge over school’s American flag clothing ban

A petition to the nation’s highest court followed a February 2014 ruling from three judges on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in California, who found Live Oak High School officials did not violate the First Amendment when they ordered students to remove American flag T-shirts during a Cinco de Mayo celebration in 2010.

Illinois AG: FERPA does not excuse colleges from turning over email directories

An Illinois college refused a reporter's open-records request for the campus email directory. But the state Attorney General says the directory is a public record. Since the FERPA student privacy law doesn't forbid turning it over, state law requires disclosing it.

Private Tenn. athletic association seeks public records exemption

A bill that would have reversed the effects of a court ruling affording the public access to the records of the nonprofit Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association is likely to be narrowed to exclude only confidential student records from public scrutiny.

‘Anti-Hazelwood’ legislation receives unanimous support in N.D. Senate

State Senators in North Dakota gave unanimous support to legislation Thursday that would enhance students’ freedom of expression in school-sponsored media.

Know Your RightsFind answers to all your legal questions

Student media guide to due process claims

When Jill Snyder, an eighth grade student at Blue Mountain Middle School in Orwigsburg, Pa., was reprimanded for violating the school dress code, she decided to take matters into her own hands.[1] After school, Snyder went home to create a mock MySpace page ridiculing her school principal.

Don't be mooted: A student plaintiff's guide to keeping your case alive after graduation

Although graduation day is traditionally a time for celebration and for new beginnings, it can bring an unhappy ending to the legal claims of a student who is challenging school censorship. In general, challenges to school policies must be raised by currently affected students. When a student graduates, a court may dismiss her claims as moot.

Sample press release to help combat censorship

A press release, which provides accurate information — with a point of view — to news media, community members and others who might provide public attention or support is an important tool in getting your message out.

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We need everyone's support to keep the SPLC's services free and readily available, and the backbone of support comes from contributing SPLC members.

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Become an Attorney Volunteer

Become a member of the ARN and provide legal representation to student journalists in need.

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Share your story

Have you experienced censorship as a student or educator? Share your story and how it’s affected you.

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Spread the Word

Become an SPLC Surrogate Speaker. Use this packet to share the history and mission of the Student Press Law Center with new audiences.