Fighting For Our Voice: An Editorial

The Hawk's Eye

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Each pupil of a public school, including, without limitation, each pupil of a university school for profoundly gifted pupils, is entitled to express himself or herself in a manner consistent with the rights guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

These words introduce Senate Bill 420, a breakthrough in freedom of speech for students everywhere. This is commonly referred to as the New Voices bill, effective as of July 1, 2017, granting the right of protection and freedom in publications and student journalism to schools around the nation.

Student rights are frequently questioned due to the title they hold as minors. Prior to the implication of S.B. 420 and New Voices, student journalism was monitored and often completely directed by an authoritative figure. This not only limits the rights of students to express and explore the topics in which they wish to publish, but creates a potentially dangerous situation in which a seemly student-run publication has very little student input. New Voices returned these constitutional rights, returning the voice to school publications nationally.

It has been brought to attention that it may be seemingly necessary to monitor students in order to limit the potential for improper literary works such as libel or false information. New Voices, however, holds the implication and standard that students run journalistic endeavors at a professional and tasteful grade. This not only returns our voice, but demonstrates the responsibility students are capable of holding despite many attempts to disarm them out of fear.

Read Senate Bill 420 and its revisions here.

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