It’s really a good day for journalism teachers and journalism students everywhere. This is just an incredibly, incredibly important reaffirmation of the rights of students. It was an absolute must-win for the independence of student journalism and we’re very thankful the court got it right.
Frank LoMonte, Executive Director, Student Press Law Center, in a statement to the Chicago Tribune, Iowa court grants students broad free press rights.
Background: An Iowa school district disciplined the faculty advisor of a student newspaper after it ran an April Fools edition that included stories about a chemistry teacher running a meth lab, cheerleaders taking steroids and a doctored photo of a baby smoking in an article about the school’s tobacco policy.
The school contended that the articles violated state law for student-run newspapers by promoting illegal activity.
Via the Chicago Tribune:
The court ruled that an Iowa law gives students greater free speech rights than those afforded under a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision that granted school administrators more leeway to censor student publications. Eight other states have similar laws or rules that grant students broad press rights, but Wednesday’s decision marked the first time a U.S. court has interpreted any of them…
…While the decision only interprets the law in Iowa, it could affect debates and legal disputes in other states amid a growing movement to give students more rights, [LoMonte] said.