Lecture addresses rights of school newspapers

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2007
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
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

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  2. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  3. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  4. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?

  5. Research by William J Federer Chief Justice John Marshall commented May 9, 1833, on the pamphlet The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina (The Papers of John Marshall, ed. Charles Hobson, Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2006, p, 278): "Reverend Sir, I am much indebted to you for the copy of your valuable sermon on the relation of Christianity to civil government preached before the convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Charleston, on the 13th of February last. I have read it with great attention and advantage. The documents annexed to the sermon certainly go far in sustaining the proposition which it is your purpose to establish. One great object of the colonial charters was avowedly the propagation of the Christian faith. Means have been employed to accomplish this object, and those means have been used by government..." John Marshall continued: "No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion to the happiness of man even during his existence in this world. It has at all times employed his most serious meditation, and had a decided influence on his conduct. The American population is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it. Legislation on the subject is admitted to require great delicacy, because freedom of conscience and respect for our religion both claim our most serious regard. You have allowed their full influence to both. With very great respect, I am Sir, your Obedt., J. Marshall."