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Do college newspaper archives matter? Ask Cory Booker.

(01/11/13 7:41pm)

Hundreds of times a year, phones ring in newsrooms across the country, college and professional alike, with a variation of: "Your archives are ruining my life!" With decades-old back editions being digitized into online-searchable form, youthful indiscretions that seemed to have disappeared into obscurity are Googling their way back into view.



To fix FERPA, raise the price of lying

(01/20/13 1:14pm)

Put yourself in the place of a school or college attorney. Your client, the institution, is trying to decide whether to fulfill or reject a journalist's request for public records. Honoring the request is going to be a nuisance, and the records contain some embarrassing information the school would rather not see on the evening news. The records pretty clearly don't contain any confidential student information -- but the journalist can't easily prove that.


Appeals court finalizes legal victory for conservative newspaper at Oregon State

(01/27/13 8:01pm)

A federal appeals court has declined a request from Oregon State University administrators to reconsider an October 2012 ruling that kept alive a First Amendment challenge brought by publishers of a conservative newspaper whose distribution racks were seized. In a brief order issued Friday, the Ninth Circuit U.S.


Censorship, eh? Two student newspapers in Canada face threats

(01/28/13 11:55am)

Two Canadian student newspapers are fighting back after threats of censorship this month. At one, a student government group wants to kick the newspaper out of its offices, and at another, campus administrators seek a ruling that would allow them to ignore the students' current and future requests for public records. The editor of The Gazette, the University of Western Ontario’s independent student newspaper, learned a few weeks ago that the newspaper's editorial office would be turned into a prayer room. The proposal came after the University Students’ Council began an extensive review of The Gazette’s practices. According to the newspaper's reports, it was after this review that the paper learned that its editorial office of 40 years would be converted into a new multi-faith room in response to what the committee referenced as concerns from those who use the current prayer room. The proposed move would put Gazette staff members in a space that is more than 700 square feet smaller than the current office.



School cellphone searches test boundaries of students' Fourth Amendment rights

(01/30/13 2:12pm)

It's happening at schools across the country: A student is caught misusing a cellphone on campus, and administrators seize the phone and look at everything inside of it. It happened last week at an upstate New York high school, where a 14-year-old boy and his girlfriend are now under criminal investigation after a school principal discovered "inappropriate" photos of the girl while searching the boy's cellphone. Is this legal?


TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Loosening the restraints -- how to get information about school "seclusion" tactics

(02/05/13 5:41pm)

Managing unruly kids who lash out at classmates and teachers is one of the most delicate tasks for schools, and those who must manage emergencies when physical safety is at stake understandably resist being second-guessed. But there's evidence that students are at times pinned, tied up or locked away in closet-sized isolation rooms for just being annoying even if they do not present a danger to others. Federal statistics indicate that disabled students and racial minorities are disproportionately likely to be placed under physical restraint, raising questions about whether the safety measures are administered even-handedly. Finding out what techniques your school district uses to respond to assaultive kids -- and how often -- should be a matter of a single public records request.




TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Mining the courthouse to explain the human impact of college student loan debt

(03/26/13 6:10pm)

As a combined result of the difficult job market and the crushing expense of student loan debt, many thousands of recent graduates are experiencing an unwelcome "reunion" with their colleges -- in court. The enormity of how much students owe is well-documented.





While you were taking a holiday, so did the Bill of Rights and government transparency

(05/28/13 3:22pm)

Over the weekend, quite a few stories involving student rights caught our eye. In case you missed them over the long holiday, here's everything you need to know: In New York, a high school senior was suspended after he started a hashtag for students to discuss the school district's budget, which failed to get voter approval last week.


Missouri high school junior arrested for yearbook prank

(05/31/13 3:37pm)

Kaitlyn Booth, 17, a junior at Hickman High School in Columbia, Mo., was arrested earlier this month after a prank in which she she changed a student's last name to "Masturbate" in the 2013 yearbook. Booth faces charges of harassment as well as first-degree property damage, a felony, in addition to unspecified school punishment. The name change is found on page 270 of the yearbook, the page that features the index.


Texas high school yearbook recalled after "Ugly Hoe" caption discovered

(06/03/13 7:53pm)

On the heels of another high school yearbook prank, Irving High School in Irving, Tex., recalled every copy of the 2012-13 yearbook last week after realizing that a student’s name had been changed to “Ugly Hoe” in a photo caption, the Dallas Observer reported. The person who changed the student’s name has not yet been identified, said Lesley Weaver, the school district's director of communications. “We can speculate, but we don’t know definitively,” Weaver said.


Q&A: Washington student editor discusses paper's in-depth focus on much-criticized community

(06/05/13 11:38am)

“Skyway is ghetto” — the provocative headline of Renton High School’s student newspaper led readers into an issue that worked to open their minds to the Seattle, Wash.-suburb Skyway as a whole, including the more pleasant parts that stereotypes often refuse to acknowledge. The 22-member Arrow staff put out an impressive 40-page May issue in which staff members explored the neighborhood — from its bus line to its park to its middle school.


Professional journalist speaks out in favor of students as New Jersey school board reconsiders prior review policy

(07/22/13 4:25pm)

Discussion and disagreement over a New Jersey high school’s prior review policy has moved a professional journalist to speak out on behalf of student journalists. Adviser Thomas McHale, who oversaw Hunterdon Central Regional High School’s student newspaper for a decade, resigned in May after school officials started enforcing the district’s prior review policy.