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Rhode Island student suspended for essay settles lawsuit against school district

(05/01/01 12:00am)

The Johnston School District agreed this month to pay $4,500 to settle a lawsuit brought by a student who was given an indefinite suspension based on an essay he wrote for extra credit. The school district will also erase the suspension from the disciplinary record of Johnston High School honor student Matthew Parent.

High school censorship calls to SPLC soar in 2000

(09/01/01 12:00am)

As high school student journalists across America head back to school this fall, the latest SPLC numbers suggest they had better add one more item to their backpack: the phone number for a good First Amendment attorney. Requests to the Student Press Law Center from public high school journalists needing free help on a censorship matter rose more than 41 percent last year.

Open-records law does not apply to Texas student newspaper's unpublished material, attorney general says

(09/01/01 12:00am)

The student newspaper at the University of Texas at Tyler was handed a victory by the state attorney general's office, which ruled June 19 that the state's open-records law does not require the paper to release reporters' notes and recordings from an investigation into alleged misconduct by student government officials. Shortly after The Patriot ran a story March 19 detailing alleged campus election law violations, student government president Aimee Griffy filed a state Public Information Act request asking newspaper editor Melissa Tresner to turn over materials she compiled during her investigation. Griffy argued that the paper's staff members were state actors covered by the state's open-records law because the paper is funded in part through the fees that students pay to campus organizations. But Tresner contested the request, claiming that compelling her to hand over the material violated her First Amendment newsgathering privilege.

Ohio middle school student suspended for private skateboarding Web page sues school

(09/01/01 12:00am)

A 14-year-old Ohio middle school student filed suit against the North Canton City School District in July after school officials suspended him for creating a personal Web page about skateboarding. Eighth-grader Johnathan Coy was suspended from North Canton Middle School for two weeks in April after a teacher discovered Coy's site, which was created at home and hosted on an off-campus service provider, according to the complaint.

Pennsylvania volleyball player continues court fight over Internet 'trash talk'

(09/01/01 12:00am)

A former Pittsburgh area high school student is continuing his fight against administrators who kicked him off the volleyball team for making negative comments in an Internet chat room. Attorneys for Jack Flaherty are seeking a permanent injunction in federal court to bar the Keystone Oaks School District from punishing students for off-campus speech, something they say the school district is fiercely resisting.

Slight majority of public favors college press freedom, survey reveals

(09/01/01 12:00am)

Almost 40 percent of Americans think college newspapers should not be able to report on controversial subjects without the approval of school officials, according to a survey released in July by The Freedom Forum. The survey found that 56 percent of those polled favor college media's right to report on controversy.

Teachers under scrutiny for post-Sept. 11 comments

(10/01/01 12:00am)

Unpopular remarks about the Sept. 11 attacks have caused two professors, one from New Mexico and the other from California, to face punishment by their schools. Richard Berthold, a tenured University of New Mexico history professor, told a freshman class, "Anyone who can blow up the Pentagon has my vote." The statement, which he later apologized for saying, upset students and caused state Rep.

Colorado judge rules that Columbine High School cannot censor memorial tiles

(10/01/01 12:00am)

Proponents of free speech in schools scored a victory Oct. 15, as U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel ruled that families who decorated in-school memorial tiles with religious content were within their First Amendment rights. The tiles at issue commemorate the 12 students and one teacher who were killed in the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., on April 20, 1999.

Maryland TV show, newspaper censored for coverage of impeachment trial

(10/01/01 12:00am)

A high school's newspaper was asked to recall issues on Oct. 1, while its television station yielded to a request to edit some content later in the week -- both stemming from their coverage of the student government association president's impeachment hearings. The Black & White at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda reported on the impeachment hearings of Austin Lavin, the SGA president, in its Sept.