Editorial: Power to the Student Press


Desmond Andersen

Student newspapers have freedom of speech, too.

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Many individuals may not know this, but we, as staff of The Oarsman student newspaper, are protected by a policy known as 48907, a California Student Free Expression Law.

The Education Code 48907 gives student journalists the same rights as professional journalists, which include identical interview rights, shield rights, and rights to protect sources, as long as the student does not use obscenity or tacky language, does not tell an untruth about anyone and does not print anything that would disrupt the normal working of a school day.

This law was enacted in 1977, however, many people have little to no knowledge of this law, which leads to injustices toward student-run newspapers. 48907 acts as a counter to the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier Supreme Court ruling of 1988, which initially limited the freedom of speech granted to public high school newspapers.

We want to have a voice on events that are occurring in our society and in our country. We want to freely express our opinions without having a fear of possible repercussions as a result.

This law not only protects student journalists but employees as well. According to 48907, employees cannot be dismissed, suspended, transferred, reassigned, disciplined, or have any further action taken upon them for acting to protect a student engaged in any of the previously mentioned conduct.

It is crucial that we student journalists and school administration of California are aware of and understand the rights that protect us in a high school environment.