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School Journalism and The First Amendment

This is a story of a school newspaper and its claims to the First Amendment.

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School Journalism and the First Amendment

Cathy Kuhlmeier, Leslie Smart, and Leanne Trippett are three high school juniors at a school in St. Louis Missouri. The three of them write in the school newspaper the Spectrum. It was one article about teenage pregnancy and how it affects young women that set the case rolling.

The school administration decided that the article was too hard and could be very difficult and hard to read for younger students. The three girls who wrote the article took the case to the Supreme Court saying that their First Amendment right of ‘freedom of expression’.

The case went to the court and in a 5-3 ruling against the girls, the resolution came out as the fact that school newspapers aren’t forums for free speech and laying out of opinions, rather a supervised learning experience for students interested in learning about journalism.

“Educators do not offend the First Amendment be exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate (educational) concerns.”

The impact this had on schools is that schools can censor just about anything in form of writing for a public school newspaper to the script in a play. It also encourages schools to look more deeply into what their students are up to in their public writing and expressions.

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