Fall 1997

Legal requests from high schools reach record high at SPLC in '96

The Student Press Law Center reported in August that the number of high school student journalists seeking legal assistance hit another all-time high last year. Read more

Illinois swings... and misses

In a surprise move, Gov. Jim Edgar ® vetoed an amendment to the state’s School Code Aug. 10 that would have guaranteed greater rights for high school student journalists in the state. Read more

Sink or swim

The Supreme Court’s 1988 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier decision gave greater power to administrators over content in student media, but state legislators continue fighting to restore free speech protections through legislation. Read more

Board president blocks editors' use of confidential report on investigation

Lawsuits abound at West Essex High School, and the next party filing suit may be the editors of the student newspaper. Read more

Paper distribution halted for ethics headline

What student editors thought was a clever headline snowballed into a censorship conflict that threatens the future of the student newspaper at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick. Read more

Complaint dismissed against Schroeder

The state Superintendent of Public Instruction has ended the investigation into Val Schroeder of Stanwood High School. Read more

Prior review keeps up Snohomish snow job

Student editors at Snohomish High School have found that dealing with the school board is like dealing with a brick wall: neither listens. Read more

Principal tries to censor prom coverage

A controversy over the prom led Principal Jimmy Jones of Lamar High School to butt heads with editors of the student newspaper, The Viking Scroll. Read more

Manifesto leads to suspension, lawsuit against school

Distributing fliers got a Montclair High School student quickly grounded by his principal. Read more

Middle school editor sues for $50,000

Dan Vagasky, the 14-year-old editor of Ostego Middle School’s student newspaper, the Bulldog Express, is trying to teach his school district a lesson in federal court. Read more

Appeal dismissed because plaintiff lacked standing

The state court of appeals has dismissed a student’s challenge to her former high school’s prior review policy on the grounds that she has no legal standing to bring the case. Read more

Parties reject long-awaited arbitration decision

For a few days at least, Cynthia Hanifin seemed to have finally won the long-standing battle with her former high school principal. Read more

Access to parking records denied

The University of Maryland at College Park student newspaper, the Diamondback, has found itself in a freedom of information battle with the university over unpaid parking tickets. Read more

Michigan courts vary in access rulings

Three state courts recently have ruled on separate freedom of information cases. In two of the three decisions, the court ruled in favor of opening records. Read more

Video of school board meeting interpreted as 'education record'

The Texas attorney general has handed down an informal ruling stating that a tape of a school board meeting that includes a high school student drama production is an educational record. Read more

Income sources must be released

Athletic department officials at the University of Kentucky will have to make public the sources of any outside income, according to an opinion issued by the state attorney general. Read more

A matter of interpretation

From college campuses to the U.S. House of Representatives, the question of how open campus crime information should be is a topic of continued debate. Read more

Ohio court opens discipline records

The Ohio Supreme Court has handed down a ruling that will open one school1s records previously kept from the public and help open secret campus judicial proceeding records in public universities across the state. Read more

Reporters struggle for open hearings

Student reporters at Georgia State University in Atlanta have recently found the effort to open campus judicial proceedings can be much more than an open and shut issue. Read more

Moorhead, Va. Tech violate law

Moorhead State University in Minnesota and Virginia Polytechnic State University now share the distinction of being the first two schools found in violation of the Campus Security Act following compliance reviews by the U.S. Department of Education. Read more

Subcommittee hears crime bill testimony

Witnesses presented testimony to the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education Training and Lifelong Learning in July regarding the Accuracy in Campus Crime Reporting Act (ACCRA), and the need for Congress to take action concerning campus crime. Read more

Court of Appeals to rehear arguments over the right to refuse advertisements

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has agreed to rehear arguments in the case of Yeo v. Lexington and threw out its earlier decision. Read more

Alcohol-related ads banned

A law nobody seems to know much about is causing confusion among student journalists. Read more

Creating an off-campus publication?

A guide to avoiding trouble with your school. Read more

University president forces ad removal

The staff of the student newspaper at the University of Great Falls is questioning its publishing freedom after the president of the university stopped an advertisement for a family planning clinic. Read more

Students not laughing at 'ebonics'

The debate continues regarding the validity of ebonics, a term developed to describe a dialect of English used by some African Americans. Read more

Both sides appealing Iowa open-records decision

The Ames Daily Tribune is appealing a county district court’s decision that required the opening of advertising and business records for the Iowa State University student newspaper, the Iowa State Daily. Read more

California Thievin'

The university’s newspaper, The Daily Californian, experienced six thefts of its newspaper during the last school year, all alleged responses to stories dealing with and mostly opposing affirmative action. Read more

Kentucky prosecutor takes action against newspaper theft

While many student newspapers around the country have found little solace in local law enforcement when dealing with newspaper thieves, one Kentucky prosecutor has shown that where there’s a theft, there’s a way. Read more

Free speech or sexual harassment?

A judicial board at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont has suspended a student in April for a newsletter he published, drawing what it described as a line between free expression rights and sexual harassment. Read more

Investigation of Equinox goes to 'pot'

University officials at Keene State College have ended an investigation against the campus newspaper, The Equinox, after suspecting that members of its staff helped organize a pro-marijuana rally. Read more

Supreme Court strikes down CDA

The Supreme Court for the first time reached into the confusing area of the Internet and kept it clear of roadblocks by voting 7-2 to strike down two provisions of the Communications Decency Act. Read more

New York, Georgia Internet laws shot down in June

Two recent court decisions have sent a message to states considering regulating content on the Internet — don’t try it. Read more

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling, private companies are picking up where the CDA left off

The Internet has quickly become the journalist’s best friend. Read more

Professors take Virginia Internet law to court

Six Virginia university professors have joined the American Civil Liberties Union to fight a new law that bans state employees from accessing sexually explicit material on the state-owned Internet providers. Read more

Iowa governor vetoes student Internet access bill

Pressure from students and faculty at the University of Iowa has finally helped halt a state bill that would have forced students and faculty living off-campus to pay the equivalent of a commercial rate for Internet use. Read more

Parents say harassment over Web site led to son's suicide

Gabriel Kelley was only 17 when he was found dead after hanging himself near the dormitories of his high school, the Texas Academy for Leadership in the Humanities in Beaumont on April 29. Read more

Maryland teen files $2.6 million claim

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education and a student newspaper reporter are currently facing a $2.6 million libel suit filed by the family of a former student who claims a quote attributed to him was so damaging to his reputation he had to change schools. Read more

States find teachers to be public officials

In two recent court rulings, a public high school teacher and a professor at a public university were determined to be public figures. Read more

'Cokehead' accusation leads to suit

Yale University’s tabloid magazine Rumpus has become the target of a libel suit, because of a story it ran accusing a local landlord of being a “cokehead” and mismanaging property. Read more

Criminal charges against Fla. 'nerd gang' dropped

Criminal defamation charges brought against two 19 year-olds who created a Web site accusing a high school teacher of having homosexual relations with a minor student have been dropped by Citrus County officials, who have admitted the statute they were prosecuting them under to be unconstitutional. Read more