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Supreme Court debates First Amendment rights of elected officials in ethics law case

(04/27/11 7:17pm)

Supreme Court justices appeared perplexed Wednesday about how to resolve the case of a Nevada city councilman who claims his First Amendment free-speech rights were violated when he was penalized for voting on a casino development that financially benefited his campaign manager. Councilman Michael A.

Pa. district's news media policy avoids restrictive school board association 'model'

(04/28/11 10:16am)

PENNSYLVANIA — After press advocates last year raised concerns about a policy that could have restricted students and staff from speaking to the media without approval, the Wilson School District adopted a less restrictive policy. The school board adopted a revised “News Media Relations” policy at its Dec.

Student rights took center stage on World Press Freedom Day

(05/11/11 1:35pm)

Last week's celebration of World Press Freedom Day was devoted to the theme of "21st century media," and the central role of students as society's information-gatherers was impossible to ignore -- down to the gavel-to-gavel coverage supplied by student volunteers from Georgetown University. The Student Press Law Center and 39 leading journalism groups from across America joined in urging the delegates to the UNESCO-sponsored event to keep the rights of students at the forefront of the first World Press Freedom Day ever celebrated on United States soil.

Nothing funny about what happened to this forum; 2nd Circuit tramples legal precedent to rule against censored students

(05/22/11 4:40pm)

It's tempting to say that a federal appeals court's ill-considered decision in dismissing the First Amendment claims of censored journalists from New York's Ithaca High School is a fluke, a one-of-a-kind happenstance that carries no larger meaning for the well-being of journalists elsewhere. After all, last week's ruling by the 2nd U.S.

Supreme Court rejects Upside Down First Amendment claim

(06/13/11 5:00pm)

The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a First Amendment claim by a Nevada lawmaker who argued that the state's conflict of interest laws requiring elected officials to recuse themselves from governance votes on issues where they have a conflict of interest violated his free speech rights. It was an odd, but important case.  In a nutshell, the case involved Sparks, Nev., city councilman Michael A.

Want to catch a movie? You bring the camera, they'll bring the handcuffs.

(06/15/11 12:08pm)

People fully flexing the First Amendment by producing a major Hollywood flick can’t be photographed, according to the City of Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale police officers arrested a journalist for photographing the downtown building in which a film was being produced. Journalists can’t use the First Amendment to cover a form of free expression?

Indiana School District fights for right to be slumber party police

(06/17/11 8:13pm)

In T.V. v. Smith-Green Community School District, a pair of students are suing their school after the school removed them from extracurricular activities because the students posted pictures of themselves with penis-shaped lollipops at a slumber party. In a supplemental brief filed with the federal district court on June 10, the school makes arguments totally irreconcilable with precedent or common sense.

Second Circuit: "Protective" suspension and psych evaluation did not violate student's First Amendment rights

(08/25/11 1:50pm)

The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that a principal was not unlawfully retaliating against a student he temporarily held in the school’s detention room after reading his essay depicting recreational drug use, law-breaking and suicide. The case was brought by middle school student Raphael Cox’s parents, who alleged Principal John Kolesar infringed Raphael’s freedom of speech, in addition to the parents’ right to custody of Raphael, after Kolesar filed a report to child welfare authorities suggesting the parents were inadequately protecting their son. The essay that brought on the dispute was a response to an English class assignment asking what the student would do if he had 24 hours to live.

University of Kentucky Athletics takes heat for pulling student reporter's access

(08/31/11 4:56pm)

The University of Kentucky is facing backlash after the UK athletics department punished the Kernel student newspaper by revoking its invitation to a special media event. After freshman forward Anthony Davis circulated a Twitter post welcoming walk-ons Brian Long and Sam Malone to the team Sunday night, Kernel managing editor Aaron Smith wanted to confirm the news from the players.

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.