Restoring Student Press Freedoms: Why Every State Needs a 'New Voices' Law

36 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2022

See all articles by Clare R. Norins

Clare R. Norins

University of Georgia School of Law

Taran Harmon-Walker

Independent

Navroz N. Tharani

University of Georgia, School of Law

Date Written: April 21, 2021

Abstract

Scholastic journalists across America have long provided vital reporting, commentary, and fresh perspective on issues of public concern to their readers. Never has this been more true than in the current age of dwindling print media, where scholastic journalists at both the high school and post-secondary levels are stepping in to populate what would otherwise be news deserts. Yet the Supreme Court’s decision in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988), allows school officials to censor both the content and style of school-sponsored media without offending the First Amendment. This essay traces the history of student speech rights from the high water-mark of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1968) to the current era of student press censorship and prior restraint under Hazelwood. The essay synthesizes the results of a growing “New Voices” movement around the country that has successfully enacted statutory protections for scholastic journalists in fourteen states to-date. It then argues for similar legislative protections in all states, using Georgia as an example, and introduces a model “New Voices” Act that draws on lessons learned from the jurisdictions that have already codified student press freedoms.

Keywords: journalism advisors, media advisors, school media, retaliation, free speech, legislative protection, legislation, prior restraint, new voices, tinker, hazelwood, censorship, student journalists, scholastic journalism, student journalism, student speech, press freedoms, free press, freedom of speech

Suggested Citation

Norins, Clare R. and Harmon-Walker, Taran and Tharani, Navroz N., Restoring Student Press Freedoms: Why Every State Needs a 'New Voices' Law (April 21, 2021). George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal (CRLJ), Vol. 32, No. 1, 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4048447

Clare R. Norins (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uga.edu/profile/clare-r-norins

Taran Harmon-Walker

Independent

Navroz N. Tharani

University of Georgia, School of Law

Athens, GA
United States

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