Subtle Censorship: The Problem of Retaliation Against High School Journalism Advisers and Three Ways to Stop It
Journal of Law & Education, Vol. 40, p. 610, 2011
50 Pages Posted: 2 May 2011 Last revised: 23 Sep 2011
Date Written: April 28, 2011
This Article explores whether the problem of retaliation against high school journalism advisers is best addressed through courts, local school boards or state legislatures. Student journalists across the United States are threatened by a new, more-subtle form of censorship. Instead of principals cutting articles out of student newspapers or threatening expulsion for controversial editorials, student journalists’ most-trusted confidant and ally - their journalism adviser - is under fire, facing retaliation by school officials through discipline, reassignment, and even termination. This retaliation exploits a loophole in student journalists’ protections, results in indirect censorship and chills student speech. After comparing the alternatives, this Article argues that the best path to ending retaliation against journalism advisers is through state legislatures adopting statutes that prohibit adviser-retaliation, grant students a cause of action, and require local school districts to adopt consistent policies protecting student publications.
Keywords: high school journalism, censorship, public high school, journalism adviser, student press, student journalism, free speech, free press, student newspaper, Tinker, Hazelwood, Bethel, Morse, First Amendment
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