Private Tenn. athletic association seeks public records exemption

A bill that would have reversed the effects of a court ruling affording the public access to the records of the nonprofit Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association is likely to be narrowed to exclude only confidential student records from public scrutiny. Read more

‘Anti-Hazelwood’ legislation receives unanimous support in N.D. Senate

State Senators in North Dakota gave unanimous support to legislation Thursday that would enhance students’ freedom of expression in school-sponsored media. Read more

Athletic director’ resignation prompts censorship of Calif. high school newspaper, adviser says

The students' reporting on the athletic director's resignation appeared in print about a month after Francis Polytechnic Senior High Principal Ari Bennett discouraged students write the story, adviser Ethel Matlen said. Read more

Va. high school censors story about marijuana ‘dabbing’

Administrators at a Virginia high school told a student reporter she couldn’t print a story about students smoking concentrated marijuana because writing about the “drug craze” would expose children to “a new and dangerous drug.” But the story didn’t go away. Read more

Under the dome: As professional news outlets vacate state capitols because of budget constraints, student journalists move in to fill the gap

In four states, student journalists outnumber journalists from professional outlets assigned to the statehouse full-time, where they ensure citizens have access to information about how the state spends their tax dollars and decisions on education, criminal justice and safety regulations. Read more

Student-produced magazine at U. of North Florida to take brunt of budget cuts

FLORIDA — The student-produced magazine at the University of North Florida is in jeopardy. Budget cuts in the 2015-16 fiscal year are just part of a series of setbacks that has hit Spinnaker Magazine, the print product of Spinnaker Media, which also operates a radio station, a television station and a website. When the university’s student government announced earlier this year it would have to cut Spinnaker’s budget, the print operation was hit the hardest. Read more

California high school newspaper’s sex issue leads to sexual harassment complaint

After a group of four parents sent a complaint to the principal and the superintendent asking for the article to be removed from the NPHS website because it violated the state’s sex education law and the family and penal sections of the California education code, the Conejo Valley Unified School District addressed the controversy at its meeting Tuesday. Read more

Appeal argues Georgia State U. misappropriated student fees in Georgia Public Broadcasting deal

Georgia State University administrators circumvented student fee policies when money for the student-produced radio station directly benefited Georgia Public Broadcasting, according to an appeal to the university system’s Board of Regents that aims to regain student control of the station. Read more

Nudes you can use: What happens when college news organizations choose to bare it all?

Each school year, student newspaper staffs publish nude images. While some argue the images accurately convey a newsworthy event, others are published to be edgy, like at the University of Buffalo, where the student newspaper’s annual sex issue features articles about sexual health and related topics. Often accompanying the articles are sexually explicit images some people argue are unsettling to see in a newspaper. Read more

Press-rights groups support Florida college journalists’ demand for fraternity discipline records

The SPLC brief, filed with Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach, argues that the student privacy statute, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), cannot constitutionally be applied to obstruct compliance with state open-records laws. Read more

Photos of condom-wrapped banana, hookah prompt prior review debate at Michigan high school

Starting this semester, the principal at Rochester High School has enforced a prior review policy over The Talon after parents complained about the November issue. Now, members of the student newspaper staff are fighting back. Read more

Cyberbullying bill in Ala. could criminalize students’ online speech

Sen. Arthur Orr introduced a bill on March 3 that would make it a crime if a student posts personal, private or sexual information on social media with the intent to “intimidate or torment” another student or school employee. The law would punish students for all statements — “whether true or false” — that are likely to provoke the stalking or harassment of a student or employee. Read more

Are body-mounted cameras the answer for transparency in police departments?

Despite a promise of increased transparency in police activities, state public records laws may shield the footage from the public. Footage likely won’t be released if it is part of an ongoing investigation or if certain details, such as the identities of victims in sensitive situations, cannot be redacted. Read more

Ill. bill would require additional transparency at private university police departments

A proposed amendment to the Private College Campus Police Act would require campus police departments at private universities, including at the University of Chicago, to publicly disclose any information that other law enforcement agencies are required to provide under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Read more

Senate committee approves Fla. closed college presidential search bill

The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee approved legislation on March 4 that would carve out a public records exemption for the applicants seeking top university jobs. The Rules Committee must approve the bill before it appears before the full Senate. Read more

Nontraditional focus: Student newspapers grapple with a shifting demographic

With added responsibilities and differing life experiences, nontraditional students — a growing population — often feel they are not well represented in their student newspaper. When nontraditional students join the newspaper staff, however, they are often able to broaden the organization’s news coverage. Read more

Student newspaper at Michigan State U. apologizes for photo some say perpetuated racial stereotypes

 A photo published in its features section upset some members of the institution’s black community. In response, editors removed the photo from the news organization’s website Monday afternoon. Read more

Amendment intends to define ‘reasonable cause’ in Illinois cyber privacy law

A proposed amendment to Illinois’ cyber privacy law would bar school officials from accessing student social media accounts to investigate cyberbullying without specific incident complaints or observed rule violations. Read more

N.J. community college suspends student for tweets about former Red Sox pitcher’s daughter

he college announced the suspension of Adam Nagel on Facebook Monday, saying he was “summarily suspended and will be scheduled for a conduct hearing where further disciplinary action will be taken,” and that Brookdale Police are investigating the student. Read more

In Texas, access delayed: Public records appeal process invites abuse

Texas law starts with the assumption that a requestor is owed records within 10 days. But asking the attorney general for an opinion stops the clock and can push the agency’s response time back by a month-and-a-half — which makes the process vulnerable to manipulation by an agency seeking to run out the clock on a deadline-sensitive request. Read more