High School Press Freedom & Censorship

The Supreme Court's 1988 decision in the case Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier defined the level of First Amendment protection public high school students working on school-sponsored publications are entitled to. That case was a follow up to the landmark 1969 Supreme Court decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. Together, these cases set the standards school officials must meet before they can legally censor student expression under the First Amendment. (State laws and regulations may provide additional protection.)

The links below provide information about how the courts have defined the rights of junior high and high school student journalists.

Fighting censorship after Hazelwood

For those student publications that are affected by the Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier decision, First Amendment protections have been significantly reduced. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

Guide for the private school press

Do students at a private high school or college have to check their free speech rights at the campus gate when they walk to school each morning? The answer to that question is a resounding maybe. Read more