To fight the spread of Hazelwood, states can increase protections for students. Sometimes, even those protections aren't enough to prevent Hazelwood from infecting a school.
To find out if your school has been infected with Hazelwood, follow these steps:
1. Check to see if your state has enacted policies that protect students from Hazelwood's effects. If your state has policies that protect against Hazelwood, learn how you're protected. Every state is different.
2. If you don't live in a state that's protected students from Hazelwood, there's still hope! Sometimes school districts or schools themselves put policies in place to protect you from Hazelwood. To find out if you're protected, ask to see the policies your school district and school have regarding free speech, free expression, or written publications. You might need to make a public records request to get this information. To do so, use our letter generator. Put in the contact information for the school or district you're requesting the policy from and then describe what policies you want to see. Then, print the letter and mail or email it to your school or school district. Note: You can only test public schools.
3. Once you get a copy of the policies your school has in place, read through them to find out whether they protect you from Hazelwood or put you at risk. Read the Student Press Law Center's model policy for high school students and college students for an example of what a good policy looks like. If you're not sure if your school district's policy protects you or puts you at risk, contact the SPLC's help hotline by email or at (202) 785-5450.
4. If your state has enacted its own policies to protect students from Hazelwood, make sure your district and school-level policies match the state's. If the state says one thing, but your school district says the opposite, the district's policies need a refresher. If you find this is the case, talk with your principal and school board. Ask them why the policies don't match up. If you need help, let us know.
5. Lastly, it's not enough to just test for Hazelwood once. Hazelwood often spreads during the summer, when students are away on break. To make sure your school hasn't been secretly infected, do this test once a year.