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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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