The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association and the Student Press Law Center are working together to build a coalition to push for legislation in Michigan to protect student journalists, including student broadcasters, from unwarranted censorship.
The legislation is modeled on legislation that unanimously passed North Dakota’s Republican-controlled legislation earlier this year. In short, the bill would roll back the decision in a 1988 Supreme Court case (Hazelwood) that allows school officials to censor student journalism as long as they can prove a valid educational purpose. It is a vague and troublesome standard that often leads to unwarranted censorship.
The legislation would not protect student expression that: a. Is libelous or slanderous; b. Constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy; c. Violates federal or state law; or d. So incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of an unlawful act, the violation of institution or state board of higher education policies, or the material and substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the institution.
The coalition, led by MIPA, has requested MAB’s support in this effort, and the MAB Board voted unanimously to send a letter of support for this legislation. You can learn more about our group at www.newvoicesmi.com.