ILNews

Lecture addresses rights of school newspapers

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2007
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The ACLU of Indiana hosted a standing-room-only audience Oct. 3 for its "First Wednesday" lecture, "The School Paper: Who decides what is 'news'?" addressing First Amendment issues for student-staffed newspapers.

The audience, including educators and students, listened as Indianapolis Star political reporter Matthew Tully moderated panelists R. George Wright, IU School of Law - Indianapolis professor of constitutional law, administrative law, and jurisprudence; Diana Hadley, executive director of the Indiana High School Press Association; and Teresa White, Noblesville High School journalism advisor.

White discussed a controversy her newspaper class faced last year when students reported about the dangers and repercussions of oral sex, including a survey of students. The article, originally slated for a February edition, was pulled by the superintendent at the last minute. It ultimately was published in May in the last issue of the school year.

Panelists addressed such issues as what school principals ought to know about the First Amendment and school newspapers, which is a class offered by J-Ideas at Ball State University; types of relationships between newspaper advisors and their students; methods of teaching young journalists; U.S. Supreme Court cases that interpret how the First Amendment applies to official school newspapers; and how closely a high school newsroom mirrors a professional newspaper.

Wright, Hadley, and White agreed that school newspapers not only offer a place for students to practice reporting but also to learn about civics, tolerance, and other issues that aren't necessarily part of the curriculum but still happen as classroom lessons.

White said the controversy her students faced was a great learning experience for them on many levels, including how to talk to the press.

Hadley added that the Indiana High School Press Association also receives many more calls about high school newspaper controversies than the media reports because most disagreements are resolved before they can get to a point where they make the news.

Upcoming lectures

The next "First Wednesday" lecture is "Prisoner Re-Entry: When is a crime paid for?" at noon Nov. 7 at the Indiana Historical Society, 450 W. Ohio St., followed by the Dec. 5 lecture "Immigrants Are Here. Now what? Challenges of Immigration in Indiana" at the same time, place, and location.

Events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.aclu-in.org.
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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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