|SAME AS||SAME AS S02958|
|COSPNSR||Nolan, Glick, Palmesano, Rozic, Seawright, Magnarelli, Simon, Rosenthal L, Gottfried, Englebright, Rivera J, Stirpe, Fahy, Abbate, Colton, Abinanti, Hunter, Niou, Giglio JM, Salka, Steck, Taylor, Hevesi, Fernandez, Jean-Pierre, Mikulin, Miller M, Walsh, Ra, DiPietro, McDonough|
|Add Art 18 §§860 - 864, Ed L|
|Enacts the student journalist free speech act to protect student speech at educational institutions unless such speech is libelous, an invasion of privacy, or incites students to commit an unlawful act, violate school policies, or to materially and substantially disrupt the orderly operation of the school.|
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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A4402 SPONSOR: Lupardo
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to enacting the student journalist free speech act   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this legislation is to extend and protect freedom of speech and the press in school-sponsored newspapers by allowing for more autonomy of student journalists over the content of their publications. This bill will expand freedom of speech and the press by giving final editorial control to student journalists at public and charter high schools, while at the same time continuing long standing ethical stand- ards which will encourage responsible journalism. This bill contains oversight protections.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: The education law is amended by adding a new article 18 which would be referred to as the "student journalist free speech act". Arti- cle 18 contains definitions, exemptions, and liability. Section 2: Establishes the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: In many states including New York, school administrators have the authority to prohibit content from being published in school newspapers over the objection of student journalists. This legislation would guar- antee freedom of expression and freedom of the press to the student journalists by giving them final editorial control, rather than school administrators. This will allow for student independence and individual initiative; student ownership of their publications which would foster a greater sense of civic engagement and increase the protections of student journalistic expression. The student journalist free speech movement has been building in momen- tum in recent years, with 14 states passing free speech protections for student journalists. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier that federal law gives schools broad powers to censor student journalists if they have pedagogical concerns. However, concerns schools could use were not specifically defined, allowing schools to censor students for legitimate journalistic inquiries and publications. In March of 2019, CNN published a piece by one such student journalist whose Texas school censored her journalism. The school principal deemed her coverage as not "positive or uplifting," such as an article about how an anti-LGBT backlash to school programming led to the removal of a book from the school reading curriculum. Subse- quent news stories have been written since then similarly highlighting the need for state-level student journalist free speech protections, particularly in the wake of how recent national events, have affected students, their schools, and their communities. Freedom of expression and press are fundamental principles in our demo- cratic society and those principals should be expanded to student jour- nalists at public and charter high schools as well.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Formerly A-3079 of 2020, died in the Education Committee.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: This legislation will have no fiscal implications for State or local government.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4402 2021-2022 Regular Sessions IN ASSEMBLY February 4, 2021 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. LUPARDO, NOLAN, GLICK, PALMESANO, ROZIC, SEAWRIGHT, MAGNARELLI, SIMON, L. ROSENTHAL, GOTTFRIED, ENGLEBRIGHT, J. RIVERA, STIRPE, FAHY, ABBATE, COLTON, ABINANTI, HUNTER, NIOU, J. M. GIGLIO, SALKA, STECK, TAYLOR, HEVESI, FERNANDEZ, JEAN-PIERRE, MIKULIN, M. MILLER, WALSH, RA, DiPIETRO, McDONOUGH -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. COOK, GALEF -- read once and referred to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to enacting the student journalist free speech act The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new article 18 to 2 read as follows: 3 ARTICLE 18 4 STUDENT JOURNALIST FREE SPEECH ACT 5 Section 860. Short title. 6 861. Definitions. 7 862. Student journalist free speech rights. 8 863. Exemptions. 9 864. Liability. 10 § 860. Short title. This article shall be known and may be cited as 11 the "student journalist free speech act". 12 § 861. Definitions. For the purposes of this article the following 13 terms shall have the following meanings: 14 1. "Educational institution" means a public high school. 15 2. "School-sponsored media" means any material that is prepared, writ- 16 ten, published, or broadcast by a student journalist at an educational 17 institution, distributed or generally made available to members of the 18 student body, and prepared under the direction of a student media advi- 19 sor. "School-sponsored media" shall not include media intended for EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03638-02-1A. 4402 2 1 distribution or transmission solely in the classroom in which the media 2 is produced. 3 3. "Student journalist" means a student enrolled in an educational 4 institution who gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records, 5 or prepares information for dissemination in school-sponsored media. 6 4. "Student media advisor" means an individual employed, appointed, or 7 designated by an educational institution to supervise or provide 8 instruction relating to school-sponsored media. 9 § 862. Student journalist free speech rights. 1. Except as otherwise 10 provided in section eight hundred sixty-three of this article, a student 11 journalist shall have the right to exercise free speech and of the press 12 in school-sponsored media, regardless of whether the media is supported 13 financially by the educational institution or by use of the facilities 14 of an educational institution or produced in conjunction with a class in 15 which the student is enrolled. 16 2. Subject to section eight hundred sixty-three of this article, the 17 appropriate student journalist shall be responsible for determining the 18 news, opinion, and feature content of school-sponsored media. 19 3. Nothing in this section shall preclude a student media advisor from 20 teaching professional standards of English and journalism to student 21 journalists or from grading the performance of a student in accordance 22 with such standards. 23 4. There shall be no prior restraint of material prepared for official 24 publications of an educational institution except for the material 25 described in section eight hundred sixty-three of this article. 26 5. Educational institution administrators shall have the burden of 27 demonstrating justification without undue delay prior to a limitation of 28 student expression under this article. 29 6. No student media advisor or employee shall be dismissed, suspended, 30 disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against 31 solely for acting to protect a pupil engaged in the conduct authorized 32 under this article; and further no student media advisor or employee 33 shall be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred or 34 otherwise retaliated against solely for an action, undertaken in good 35 faith with this article, which results in the prohibition of the publi- 36 cation of speech pursuant to this article. 37 7. Political expression by students in school-sponsored media shall 38 not be deemed the use of public funds for political purposes. 39 § 863. Exemptions. Nothing in this article shall impose a duty on 40 educational institution administrators to review school-sponsored media 41 prior to publication. To the extent that an educational institution 42 administrator chooses to engage in pre-publication review, the follow- 43 ing forms of expression shall not be protected by this article: 44 1. Expression that is libelous, slanderous or obscene; 45 2. Expression that constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy; 46 3. Expression that violates federal or state law; or 47 4. Expression that incites students to commit an unlawful act where 48 such unlawful act would be both imminent and likely to occur, to 49 violate the policies of the educational institution, or to materially 50 and substantially disrupt the orderly operation of such educational 51 institution. 52 § 864. Liability. No expression made by students in the exercise of 53 free speech or freedom of the press protected by this article shall be 54 deemed to be an expression of policy, opinion or position of the educa- 55 tional institution, nor shall any such expression be considered to be an 56 endorsement in any way by the educational institution and no educationalA. 4402 3 1 institution, student media advisor, employee, parent, legal guardian or 2 administrator of an educational institution shall be held liable in any 3 civil or criminal action for any expression made or published by 4 students, except in cases of willful or wanton misconduct. Nothing in 5 this section shall be construed to create any private action on behalf 6 of a student other than to seek injunctive relief allowing the publica- 7 tion of the speech in question. 8 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.