California Supreme Court declines to hear case over censorship of student journalists

MediaInfo.com reports:

In a victory for high school journalists, the California Supreme Court let stand an appeals court ruling that schools cannot censor controversial speech in student media.

The high court Thursday declined to review the appellate court ruling in a lawsuit that former Novato High School student journalist Andrew Smith filed against the Novato Unified School District after administrators publicly condemned two columns he wrote for the school paper, and tried to confiscate all copies of the offending pieces.

The decision is important because it upholds the state’s so-called “anti-Hazelwood” law that was intended to restore student free-expression rights in the wake of the 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. In that case, the high court ruled essentially that school administrators are publishers of student media with the same power to direct or spike material that any publisher of a non-government newspaper has.

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