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Arkansas reporter accuses school official of prohibiting employees from talking to press

(02/01/01 12:00am)

A Helena newspaper reporter accused the superintendent of schools at Helena-West Helena School District of placing a gag order on school personnel in February after teachers from different schools in the district were quoted in several articles that appeared in a local newspaper.

Oregon college officials lock door to campus publication

(03/01/01 12:00am)

The editor of a Portland State University campus publication filed a lawsuit March 16 charging that school officials locked the doors to his publication and would not open the doors until he agreed to turn over a box of confidential files that had mysteriously landed in front of the door to the publication's office. The box of files, which was originally left outside of the Rearguard office with an anonymous note saying it was found in the catering kitchen of a campus building, contained sensitive university records, according to Dimitrius Desyllas, editor of The Rearguard, an alternative student publication.

New Jersey alumni magazine must publish group

(03/01/01 12:00am)

A public university's alumni magazine violated the First Amendment rights of an alumni group when it refused to print an ad submitted by the group criticizing school officials for placing too much emphasis on athletics, a New Jersey state superior court ruled March 13. Rutgers University Magazine said it refused to run the ad sponsored by the Rutgers Alumni Council 1000 because it violated its policy against publishing advocacy advertising.

Educators teach students about First Amendment in theory but not in practice, national survey shows

(04/01/01 12:00am)

More than two-thirds of educators do not believe students at public high schools should be allowed to report on controversial issues in their student newspapers without approval of school authorities, according to a survey conducted by The Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The release of the survey coincides with the launch of a multi-year partnership between the First Amendment Center and the ASCD that is designed to improve the way schools teach and model the rights and responsibilities of the First Amendment, according to a press release issued by the groups.

Groups announce $5,000 award to recognize courageous high school journalist, school administrator

(04/01/01 12:00am)

Two national journalism education organizations and a museum dedicated to news have announced that beginning this year, they will co-sponsor two $5,000 awards to recognize those who demonstrate outstanding support for student press freedom The Student Press Law Center, the Newseum, and National Scholastic Press Association will give the Courage in Student Journalism Awards to a middle or high school student and to a school administrator who have stood in support of the First Amendment.

New book explores efforts to "protect" minors from harmful expression

(04/01/01 12:00am)

From Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter, from Internet filters to the v-chip, censorship exercised on behalf of children and adolescents is often based on the assumption that they must be protected from "indecent" information that might harm their development -- whether in art, in literature, or on a Web site.

High Court upholds right of news media to publish information obtained illegally by others

(05/01/01 12:00am)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that news media can report newsworthy information even where there is reason to believe that someone else obtained the material illegally. The May 21 decision confirms what journalists have long believed: that as long as journalists themselves do nothing illegal to obtain or encourage others to obtain newsworthy information, they do nothing wrong in publishing it.

Illinois principal destroys entire issue of student newspaper because of 'alarmist' content; staff publishes off-campus on Internet

(05/01/01 12:00am)

An award-winning high school newspaper's latest issue on school violence was intended to provoke discussion, but the principal destroyed every copy before they could be distributed, calling its content "alarmist." The April 20 issue of Hinsdale Central High School's student newspaper, The Devil's Advocate, contained a feature story entitled "Scared of School" that included opinions from students and parents on the school's safety and the security measures the school has taken, as well as an editorial urging students to take responsibility for their school's safety. But Hinsdale students never saw the issue because principal Jim Ferguson confiscated and destroyed the entire issue.