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MONTANA -- The Great Falls school board decided Monday
to defy a judge's order and expel a high school student who had
posted photographs of female classmates on his personal Web site.
The board's unanimous decision instructed Great Falls High
senior Kenny Volk to transfer to C.M.
CALIFORNIA -- Allowing student free speech may have come
at a high price for the Los Angeles Unified School District, after
a superior court jury last week handed down a decision that --
if left unchallenged -- could set a dangerous precedent for cases
involving student journalists.
FLORIDA -- A college student featured on the cover of
a "Girls Gone Wild" video has sued the makers of the
video for invasion of privacy and unauthorized use of her image.
Becky Lynn Gritzke, a business major at Florida State University,
appeared in the 2000 Mardi Gras edition of the video and was also
used on its cover, its Web site, and in television commercials
for the product, according to court documents.
MONTANA -- Days after a judge issued a restraining
order to prevent the punishment of a student who had posted a
"10 Hottest Freshman Girls" section on his Web site,
a technicality has allowed the Great Falls school board to expel
him from his high school.
KANSAS -- "Active protest" against the student
newspaper was the motivation behind last month's shredding of
800 copies of The Bulletin at Emporia State University.
A student, whose name has not been released, "came forward
and took full responsibility" for the incident a couple of
days after it happened, Vice President of Student Affairs Diane
Residents of a dorm encountered about a foot deep of shredded
newspapers the morning of March 1 with a note stating "This
is a TEST!
FLORIDA -- A federal appellate court has affirmed a district
court's ruling that a student at Killian High School in suburban
Miami did not have her constitutional rights violated when she
was arrested and strip-searched for helping to distribute an obscene
pamphlet at the school in 1998.
Jailers who strip-searched Killian student Liliana Cuesta after
her arrest had reasonable suspicion to do so "based upon
the violent and threatening language and imagery contained in
the pamphlet," the U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Although their school newspaper is
still young, student journalists at Eastern Senior High School
are becoming familiar with the ins and outs of high school reporting
-- the painstaking research, the breaking stories, the sometimes
Principal Jerome Shelton threatened to hold up publication
of the March/April issue of The Rambler, including front-page
stories on two students who were fatally shot, because he said
he did not have an opportunity to review the contents of the paper
before it went to press.
KANSAS -- Seven school board members are facing a civil
lawsuit alleging five separate violations of the Kansas open-meetings
law after the Piper Unified School District held a closed meeting
The board members met during a recess to discuss the meaning
of plagiarism after Christine Pelton, a biology teacher at Piper
High School, gave 28 students zeros for plagiarizing a botany
project by using material from the Internet.
SOUTH AFRICA -- Student journalists in Grahamstown have
been threatened following the publication of an article about
Zimbabwe's controversial presidential election.
In response to the threats, Rhodes University is providing round-the-clock security for
the staff of Activate.
"We have had a number of suspicious characters asking
questions about our Zim students and reporters," wrote Activate
editor Natasha Joseph via e-mail.
Robert Mugabe, the country's reigning leader of 22 years, was
reelected to a new six-year term in mid-March.
MISSOURI -- A memo that asked on-air talent at KOMU-TV
to remove patriotic symbols will cost the University of Missouri
$500,000 from next year's budget.
LOUISIANA -- If there were a "Censor Olympics,"
St. Tammany Parish School District near New Orleans would likely
take home bronze, silver and gold medals for its ongoing suppression
of free speech.
In the mid-1990s, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the
district for banning the book Voodoo & Hoodoo and won.
Then, in 2000 the ACLU again sued the district for a gag order
it placed on parent Dana Thompson at a school board meeting.
OKLAHOMA -- Trials involving student athletes are definitely
newsworthy. But at the University of Central Oklahoma, someone
deemed the coverage of one such case too scandalous, stealing
several thousand copies of the student newspaper.
The Vista estimated that nearly 4,000 copies of its
5,000-copy press run were stolen March 14 from approximately 25
FLORIDA -- A nearly three-month-long saga involving the
yearbook at Florida A&M University has apparently come to
MICHIGAN -- Student journalists at Utica High School
are fuming after their principal censored their award-winning
school newspaper's coverage of a highly publicized pending lawsuit
involving allegations that the school district's bus depot causes
health problems for area residents.
Principal Richard Machesky forced the Arrow staff to
remove a front-page story written for the March 15 issue of the
paper about a lawsuit the school faces from a resident claiming
school bus exhaust fumes caused his lung cancer.
The trend of newspaper thefts does not appear to be coming
to a close any time soon. Eleven campuses have been hit in the
spring semester, bringing the total to 23 for this academic year,
as reported to the Student Press Law Center.
At the University of North Florida, about 80 percent
of The Spinnaker's press run was stolen last week.
MINNESOTA -- Student journalists at The Minnesota
Daily covering riots following the University of Minnesota's
national hockey championship went from covering the news to becoming
the news last weekend.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Former Supreme Court Justice Byron
White, author of the student-press case Hazelwood School District
NORTH DAKOTA -- A physics professor at the University
of North Dakota won a libel lawsuit against a former student on
April 2 when a jury ordered that the defendant pay the professor
John Wagner filed the lawsuit earlier this year after one of
his former students, religious studies major Glenda Miskin, posted
an article titled "Kinky, Torrid Romance by Randy Physics
Professor" on undnews.com, a Web site she operates.
OHIO -- A county court has dismissed parts of a Kent
State University student's invasion of privacy lawsuit, including
the naming of the student newspaper and several of its staff members
D'Andra Mull was running for executive director of the student
senate in spring 2001 when the Daily Kent Stater received
a tip that she had misrepresented her grade point average in a
story the paper did on the candidates.
MISSOURI -- The Clayton School District board of education
last week reviewed a student publications policy that supports
student freedom of expression on a level that is almost unrivalled
"The Board of Education encourages student production
and distribution of official school-sponsored publications that
can provide opportunities for practical journalistic expression
for the written expression of differing opinions, and for the
creation of a forum for the expression of opinions among the school
district community on issues of importance to students and staff,"
the policy reads.
"Because Clayton High School student journalists historically
have exercised their powers and skills in a responsible, respectful
and appropriate manner, the board encourages the administration
to allow its student journalists to function with minimal oversight
consistent with the trust and respect that its student journalists
have earned," according to the policy.