The Lancer

New Voices of Michigan fights for student press rights

nvom

Staff
Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2016

Thanks to the work of New Voices Michigan, Senate Bill 848 passed committee on March 22nd and will soon go to the floor for a vote.

Senate Bill 848, also known as the Student Free Press and Civil Readiness Act, if passed would protect the First Amendment rights of student journalists as well as student publications. 

This bill has the potential to be a landmark piece of legislation for the state of Michigan and would work to rectify the mistake made by the Supreme Court in their Hazelwood decision, which effectively allowed the censorship of student media by district administrators. 

This bill is crucial for several reasons and The Lancer is encouraging citizens to write to their state Senators and urge them to pass this bill.

In public schools we teach students to be independent thinkers, to let their voices be heard and be involved in the community and the world. One way for students to be heard and get involved is through their school newspapers and yearbooks. However under the constant threat of censorship by administrators, students may not be able to exercise free speech.

Bill 848 would protect student journalists across the state and guarantee First Amendment rights to student publications. Often times, these publications operate at the highest standards with more professionalism than some of the magazines on shelves today. And if we can be trusted to operate with such integrity then we should at least have the right to publish what we want without being censored.

Michigan would not be the first state to pass such legislation. Thanks to the work of New Voices US, many campaigns in several states have been initiated and in some, legislation has even been passed. We hope that the Michigan Legislature will be at the forefront of this campaign and champion student press rights for the rest of the nation along with North Dakota and other states who are taking action.

This act is crucial to student journalists across the state. Free speech is something everyone should have whether they write for their school newspaper or The New York Times. This bill is just the beginning and soon we hope to see bills passed in every state that secures student journalists the rights they deserve.

Logo re-designed by Robert Swetlic based on original logo by New Voices Michigan. 

 

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