Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Herald-Leader endorses high school press bill

The Lexington Herald-Leader called a legislative proposal to extend First Amendment rights to high school journalists "common sense and common fairness" in an editorial Wednesday.

"High-school aged people have died in every war this country has fought, been plaintiffs before the United States Supreme Court, run for public office, given birth to babies and paid taxes," the editorial said.

"So, shouldn't they have the freedom to express themselves like the rest of us citizens?"

The editorial noted that for much of America's history, high school students had the same First Amendment freedoms as everyone else, until a 1988 Supreme Court decision took them away. A number of states have restored those rights through legislation, the paper said, endorsing House Bill 43, now in the Kentucky legislature. That bill, in addition to restoring those rights, also preserves the right of high school administrations to censor libelous, disruptive or other types of reports. It also protects schools from legal liability for the content of a school newspaper.

The Kentucky Press Association and the Bluegrass and Cincinnati chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists have endorsed the bill.

To read the editorial, go to

For a full text of the bill, go to

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