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Wyoming high school paper confiscated for pro/con article on elderly

(01/01/02 12:00am)

About 400 copies of Equus were confiscated at Cody High School after the principal feared the community would have a negative reaction to a satirical opinion article. The newspaper contained a pro/con commentary that asked, "Should you respect your elders?" In one of the articles, two student reporters humorously wrote why elderly citizens should not have special privileges, editor Adam Nace said. "The average citizen deserves as much respect as an elderly person because first, senior citizens are the worst drivers on the face of the earth.


ACLU threatens to sue Nevada college for selling student names

(01/01/02 12:00am)

The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to sue the Nevada public college system if it does not stop selling the names and addresses of former students to credit-card companies without their informed consent. Gary Peck, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada, sent a letter to Jane Nichols, chancellor of the University and Community College System of Nevada, on Jan.




Florida university prohibits release of yearbook, citing grammatical errors, color of yearbook cover

(01/01/02 12:00am)

One year after a federal appeals court ruled students at Kentucky State University could distribute their yearbook despite the objections of administrators, the editor of Florida A&M University's yearbook has found herself in a situation strikingly similar to the facts of that case.


Supreme Court decision in peer grading case should benefit student journalists

(02/01/02 12:00am)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 19 unanimously upheld the right of schools to engage in the common practice of having students grade one another's work in the classroom, which the Court ruled does not violate federal privacy statutes. In a 9-0 ruling, the Court in Owasso Independent School District v.








Court rules evaluation of Wis. school superintendent is public record

(02/01/02 12:00am)

A state appellate court acted to defend the public interest when it ruled on Feb. 12 that a school board must release its evaluation of a former superintendent. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously upheld a previous state circuit court decision holding that the public interest in an evaluation made of former Rhinelander Superintendent Robb W.


Citing 'national security,' feds order Vt. university libraries to destroy document

(02/01/02 12:00am)

Libraries at Castleton State College and the University of Vermont were among 1,300 across the country that recently destroyed an obscure document held in their collections after the federal government ordered them to do so. Federal officials said the document, "Source Area Characteristics for Large Public Surface Water Supplies," was a focus of national security concerns after the Sept.


Calif. teacher wins harassment suit stemming from underground student paper

(03/01/02 12:00am)

Allowing student free speech may have come at a high price for the Los Angeles Unified School District, after a superior court jury this month handed down a decision that -- if left unchallenged -- could set a dangerous precedent for cases involving student journalists. A jury unanimously awarded Palisades High School teacher Janis Adams $4.35 million in damages when she took the school district to court over an underground newspaper that she claims the school did little to stop after it defamed her.


Calif. judge cites anti-SLAPP law in dismissal of libel suit against student newspaper

(03/01/02 12:00am)

A libel case against a student newspaper was thrown out of a California Superior Court recently when the judge ruled the case fell under the auspices of a state law that protects free speech. The Lompoc Unified School District and journalism teacher Suzanne Nicastro filed a motion to dismiss a suit brought by a local family under the anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) statute. California's law was created in 1992 as a response to an increasing number of lawsuits designed to silence protected acts of expression about matters of public concern.


College radio stations fear proposed royalty fees for webcasting songs

(03/01/02 12:00am)

College Internet radio advocates reacted with disappointment late last month as the release of a government arbitration panel's recommendations concerning the fees webcasters must pay record companies signaled another setback in the broadcasters' battle for existence. The Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel released its proposed fee schedule Feb.


Ark. students cite anti-Hazelwood law in censorship battle with principal

(03/01/02 12:00am)

Strict guidelines imposed on an award-winning student newspaper are threatening its independence in a state with a law protecting the rights of student journalists. Editor Holly Ballard said the new guidelines were triggered by the paper's coverage of school board meetings and articles critical of Superintendent Vickie Logan. The censorship escalated when a feature writer of The Prospective decided to run a series on discrimination at Bryant High School. The first two articles on racial and religious discrimination ran without a problem, Ballard said, but the third article caused some friction. The article addressed sexual discrimination at Bryant High School and involved the use of confidential questionnaires frequently used by Prospective reporters to "ensure accuracy of quotes" and cut down on the amount of classtime used for an interview. The author handed out the questionnaire to a select group of students and promised anonymity. Complaints started coming into the principal's office from students and parents alike that "felt the questionnaires implied they were homosexual and that they were under attack by the journalism staff," Ballard said. Principal Danny Spadoni confiscated the questionnaires from the newspaper office unbeknownst to adviser Margaret Sorrows and prohibited the paper from running the final article in the series, Ballard said. "A week or two later [Spadoni] presented Ms. Sorrows with eight points and made her sign a document that said if she didn't abide by these, her job could be in jeopardy," Ballard said. The new guidelines require The Prospective to direct student journalists away from "controversial issues," while requiring close monitoring of work, approval of all surveys and a "complete copy" of the newspaper in the principal's possession 48 hours prior to printing. The newspaper countered the guidelines by submitting a formal rebuttal.


Colo. legislation would require all public schools to install Internet filters

(03/01/02 12:00am)

Colorado took its first step toward adopting an Internet filtering bill for schools when the Children's Internet Protection Act was introduced on March 12. House Bill 1266 calls for the implementation of a "technology protection measure" for each school computer that allows minors to access the Internet.