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. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  2. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

  3. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  4. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  5. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

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