Trojan Journalism

Fight for press freedom bill begins in Olympia

Karla Cardenas, Yearbook Staff

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     Many of us know the United States to be the land of the brave and the free. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Why don’t student journalists within schools have the right to freedom of speech within their work, without the need of censorship by an administrator? In the case of, Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier, in 1988 it was brought to the Supreme Court that two student’s First Amendment Rights were violated. Two articles were submitted for publication in their school newspaper. According to, http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-hazelwood-v-kuhlmeier it was a story regarding a student who blamed her father for a divorce and an article which featured teenage girls pregnancy stories. Although names were changed for privacy reasons, the school principal felt it was not appropriate to publish. The Supreme Court ruling stated, “The decision of the school principal to prohibit the publishing of certain articles deemed to be inappropriate does not violate the student journalists’ First Amendment right of freedom of speech.” (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-hazelwood-v-kuhlmeier) Furthermore, two new Voices Bills were introduced in Missouri and Washington and other states. These convey the protection of Free Speech rights for journalism students. The bills, “aim to restore many of the free speech protections for student journalists removed,” in the Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier case. Although the bills do not authorize any publication that is, “libelous, invades privacy, violates state or federal law or incites students to create a clear and present danger to break laws or violate school regulations,” (http://www.splc.org/article/2016/02/student-press-rights-bills-in-washington-missouri-voted-out-of-state-committees ) it will grant many opportunities for many young journalists.

     The Freedom of Expression Senate Bill #5064 will grant and protect high school as well as college journalists’ right to execute their First Amendment Rights within school sponsored media. At Auburn High School, Mr. Thomas Kaup, advises newspaper and yearbook recently reached out to Auburn’s Republican Senator, Joe Fain, to bring this back on the table with new legislation. Kaup said that this bill will not only benefit students, but also “school officials and school districts from legal consequence that may arise from student’s use of their rights.” Additionally, Mariah Valles, Editor in Chief of Auburn High School’s Yearbook The Invader, will be attending the legislative meeting and testifying. Finally, Managing Editor of the School Newspaper The Troy Invoice, Diego Izquierdo says, although our administration is understanding and have not had a problem with his publications his ultimate goal is for, “not only our school to be a free media, but for other public schools around the state.” All very passionate about their feelings towards the Bills, they unite as one to support Valles at the State Capitol in Olympia, Washington on January 19, 2017. Many are pushing for the Bill to be passed in support of students exercising their First Amendment, Freedom of the Press and Speech rights.

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The online student news site of Auburn High School
Fight for press freedom bill begins in Olympia