While laws differ in each state, the Student Press Law Center is working to ensure policies are favorable for student journalists.
Students can be their own best advocates by making informed and respectful arguments to their state and local lawmakers about why a free student press is important — to produce better-trained graduates, and an honest campus dialogue about issues that matter. These tools will help you get started as a grassroots organizer to protect your own rights.
States are free to give students more legal protection against censorship than the bare minimum the U.S. Constitution requires, and ten states and the District of Columbia have done so, by state law or state Board of Education rule (one, Illinois, has done so only at the college level). Click states on the map to explore the protections given to student free expression in each.
Although opponents traffic in myths and stereotypes, the reality is that student free-speech laws have been around for more than 30 years with no reported ill effects — except on schools and colleges that prefer to keep corruption and mismanagement hidden.
Absent state-level protection, students and advisers can also lobby for publication policies at the district or school-level that establish student publications as public forums for student expression. The Student Press Law Center's model guidelines set reasonable limitations on the material that students can include in their publications and protect the rights of students to be free from arbitrary censorship by school officials.
The following model policies, developed by the Student Press Law Center, concern issues involving newsgathering, copyright and advertising.