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Obama's nominee to lead the Fed used to lead her student newspaper

(10/09/13 3:34pm)

Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee for Federal Reserve chair, once interviewed herself for her high school newspaper. She was its editor-in-chief and school valedictorian. "Next year I will attend Pembroke College where I’ve decided to major in math or anthropology or economics," the 1963 graduating senior said in her own interview.

Two new reports on civic engagement in schools identify a central role for scholastic journalism skills

(10/13/13 2:44pm)

Youth will need digital media literacy skills to critically engage with all the information (and misinformation) they can now find online, to seek out a range of perspectives, and to be thoughtful about the content they circulate and create. That's among the big-picture takeaways from a groundbreaking new study, "All Together Now: Collaboration and Innovation for Youth Engagement," just released by Tufts University as the product of the nation's leading scholars in civic education. The Oct.

Does legalized censorship make students less likely to criticize school administrators? One study suggests "yes."

(02/09/14 5:28pm)

Student newspapers in states with legal protection against censorship publish many more editorials than those in states lacking protective laws, and their editorials are more likely to be critical of school policies. That's the takeaway from a recently published study in the Maine Law Review by an attorney and former Iowa school-board member who concludes that "a free student press has far-reaching positive consequences that reverberate through the public schools and beyond." Author Tyler Buller's article is the most comprehensive nationwide look at whether state laws counteracting the Supreme Court's 1988 ruling in Hazelwood School District v.

Try this at home: Are campus debit-card agreements deepening student debt?

(02/16/14 9:32pm)

With the annual cost of getting an education topping $18,000 last year at a four-year public college — and more than $40,000 at a private school — inquisitive journalists are the best "consumer protection" cash-strapped students have. Here's a consumer-protection story begging to be localized by college media... On Feb.

Student's "lewd" video about teacher provokes errant Wisconsin ruling applying "online harassment" law

(02/23/14 9:32pm)

Can derogatory remarks about a teacher be both constitutionally protected speech and also punishable as harassment? A Wisconsin appeals court appears to believe so. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is being asked to take up the case of "Kaleb K.," a 15-year-old student from Stevens Point, Wisc., who was arrested after posting a homemade rap on YouTube filled with profane, degrading language about his Spanish teacher. In September 2012, a juvenile-court judge declared Kaleb delinquent on the grounds of violating state criminal statutes against disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a computer communications system. In a ruling last November, the state Court of Appeals threw out the disorderly conduct charge, finding that Kaleb's lyrics, though distasteful, were not threatening, obscene or otherwise outside the boundaries of the First Amendment. But the court then went on to uphold the conviction under the state's computer-harassment law, which makes it a misdemeanor if a speaker "sends a message to [a] person on an electronic mail or other computerized communication system" that contains lewd or profane language "with the intent to harass, annoy, or offend." It's possible to harass someone even with a constitutionally protected message if the speech is delivered in an especially harassing manner.

Crimson White, Daily Bruin roll out new records request trackers

(02/26/14 10:46am)

Mazie Bryant and Jillian Beck — editors of The Crimson White and The Daily Bruin, respectively — know how frustrating it can be to get answers out of their universities. So after running into repeated reporting roadblocks, they’ve decided to call attention to their universities’ public records responsiveness by making their records requests more transparent. In newly debuted trackers, The Crimson White and The Daily Bruin now publicize details of the requests they’ve submitted to their institutions.

California high school journalists honored after invoking state shield law

(02/26/14 6:55pm)

A trio of student journalists who fought to protect confidential sources while investigating events surrounding a peer’s suicide earned recognition this month from the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The team from Saratoga High School’s The Saratoga Falcon — Samuel Liu, Sabrina Chen and Cristina Curcelli — were honored in the high school category of the James Madison Freedom of Information Awards.

A constitutional right to leggings and long hair? When are school dress codes unfashionable?

(04/16/14 4:43pm)

Momentous advances in free-speech law don't always involve historic acts of journalistic courage. Sometimes they start with something as tiny as a kid who doesn't want a haircut. That's what led a Chicago-based federal appeals court to conclude that it can be unlawful gender discrimination to make male high-school athletes, but not female ones, wear their hair short. In a 2-1 ruling issued in February, the federal Seventh Circuit decided that gender-based dress and grooming codes can violate both the federal Title IX gender discrimination statute as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In sending the case back for trial, the appeals court in Hayden v.

Appeals court throws out Iowa student's "name-calling" conviction

(04/22/14 2:29pm)

The justice system increasingly is being asked to intercede in unpleasant social interactions involving young people that, once upon a time, used to get settled through a stern lecture and a parental conference. In Pennsylvania, police charged a 15-year-old with the crime of "disorderly conduct" for secretly recording students bullying him during school, a case that prosecutors recently withdrew after a public outcry. And in Iowa, an Allamakee County high school student was hauled into juvenile court and adjudicated "delinquent," the equivalent to a conviction in adult criminal court, for insulting remarks ("you fat, skanky bitch") that she yelled at a rival student while exiting the school bus. In a victory for judicial restraint, the Iowa student's case was overturned April 16 by the Iowa Court of Appeals, which reached the common-sense decision that not every upsetting remark can be criminalized as "harassment." In its ruling, the Court of Appeals found that Iowa's criminal harassment statute -- which outlaws speech that is intended, without legitimate purpose, to "threaten, intimidate or alarm" -- cannot be violated by mere insults.

Appeals court's "ethnic studies" ruling fortifies students' rights to receive information

(07/20/15 4:46pm)

A federal appeals court allowed student plaintiffs to go forward with due process and First Amendment challenges to the state of Arizona's decision to eliminate "ethnic studies" courses from the K-12 curriculum. The court's 3-0 decision is remarkable for recognizing that students have a constitutionally protected right to receive information even in the classroom setting, a principle that may strengthen the hand of future student plaintiffs.