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Why Time Magazine is wrong about New Jersey's cyberbullying law

(09/12/11 12:54pm)

In the latest edition of Time Magazine, author and Yale law professor Adam Cohen presents an overly simplistic portrayal of New Jersey's new "cyberbullying" law as a "model" for the nation. Cohen's method of analysis, which typifies the reasoning of many state legislators, can be reduced to this: "Bullying is a big problem.

Study shows students more supportive of free speech at school than teachers

(09/16/11 10:54am)

A national survey of teachers and students released today offers a mixed bag for civic education and free expression advocates. The survey of about 12,000 students and 900 teachers from 50 high schools across the country was conducted earlier this year with funding from the Knight Foundation.

ACLU claims Calif. district allowed "prolonged, coercive interrogations" of student journalists

(09/08/11 3:56pm)

The Davis Joint Unified School District in California is facing criticism after two high school journalists were pulled out of class and questioned by police. Alana de Hinojosa, editor in chief of The HUB newspaper at Davis High School, wrote an article last spring exploring the artistic value and criminal implications of graffiti.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Who's throwing a fiesta at taxpayer expense? FOI tips for covering the college bowl game.

(09/13/11 5:51pm)

It's college football season again, and the start of competition should also be the kickoff for sports journalists to start asking questions about the business side of major college sports. In Arizona, the Fiesta Bowl -- one of four major bowls that alternate hosting college football's Division I national championship -- is facing tough questions about its finances thanks to some aggressive public-records crunching by the Arizona Republic newspaper. Bowl organizers already were under scrutiny by Arizona's attorney general, who is looking at whether the bowl's organizing committee broke any laws by spending money on expensive gifts and entertainment for VIP's and on campaign contributions.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Get dialed into what's behind the sale of your college radio station

(09/20/11 4:55pm)

From Boise to Sioux Falls, student-run college radio stations are going on the auction block, a casualty of tight campus budgets that at times is rationalized by reference to declining listenership and the availability of online-only broadcasting alternatives. If your college radio station gets sold without advance warning -- especially if you are at a state institution that must obey public-records laws -- then it's time to go into document-gathering mode. First, find out whether your state has a law governing colleges and universities that requires competitive bidding before valuable state assets, such as the license and equipment of a radio station, are sold.

When it comes to public records, schools can't hide behind the insurance company

(09/22/11 4:27pm)

Despite all its good intentions, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act has often been misused by schools to deny any number of valid open records requests, leaving a string of court cases to interpret the law. A recent decision out of Arizona ended with a judge ruling a school district couldn’t claim a FERPA exemption on a settlement agreement with a former student who was strip-searched by school officials. The history on that case goes back many years and is well worth delving into, notably the Supreme Court ruling 8-1 that the girl’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated.