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A09801 Summary:

COSPNSRNolan, Glick, Palmesano, Rozic, Seawright, Magnarelli, D'Urso, Arroyo, Jaffee, Simon, Giglio, Lawrence, Rosenthal L, Rivera, Fahy, Gottfried
MLTSPNSRBuchwald, Cook, Galef
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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A09801 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 9, 2018
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  LUPARDO,  NOLAN,  GLICK,  PALMESANO,  ROZIC,
          LAWRENCE,  L. ROSENTHAL, RIVERA, FAHY, GOTTFRIED -- Multi-Sponsored by
          -- M. of A. BUCHWALD, COOK, GALEF -- read once  and  referred  to  the
          Committee  on Education -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered
          reprinted as amended  and  recommitted  to  said  committee  --  again
          reported  from  said  committee  with amendments, ordered reprinted as
          amended and recommitted to said committee
        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, private or charter middle
    15  or high school.
    16    2. "School-sponsored media" means any material that is prepared, writ-
    17  ten,  published,  or broadcast by a student journalist at an educational
    18  institution, distributed or generally made available to members  of  the
    19  student  body, and prepared under the direction of a student media advi-
    20  sor. "School-sponsored media"  shall  not  include  media  intended  for
    21  distribution  or transmission solely in the classroom in which the media
    22  is produced.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 9801--B                          2
     1    3. "Student journalist" means a student  enrolled  in  an  educational
     2  institution  who gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records,
     3  or prepares information for dissemination in school-sponsored media.
     4    4. "Student media advisor" means an individual employed, appointed, or
     5  designated  by  an  educational  institution  to  supervise  or  provide
     6  instruction relating to school-sponsored media.
     7    § 862. Student journalist free speech rights.  1. Except as  otherwise
     8  provided in section eight hundred sixty-three of this article, a student
     9  journalist shall have the right to exercise free speech and of the press
    10  in  school-sponsored media, regardless of whether the media is supported
    11  financially by the educational institution or by use of  the  facilities
    12  of an educational institution or produced in conjunction with a class in
    13  which the student is enrolled.
    14    2.  Subject  to section eight hundred sixty-three of this article, the
    15  appropriate student journalist shall be responsible for determining  the
    16  news, opinion, and feature content of school-sponsored media.
    17    3. Nothing in this section shall preclude a student media advisor from
    18  teaching  professional  standards  of  English and journalism to student
    19  journalists or from grading the performance of a student  in  accordance
    20  with such standards.
    21    4. There shall be no prior restraint of material prepared for official
    22  publications  of  an  educational  institution  except  for the material
    23  described in section eight hundred sixty-three of this article.
    24    5. Educational institution administrators shall  have  the  burden  of
    25  demonstrating justification without undue delay prior to a limitation of
    26  student expression under this article.
    27    6. No student media advisor or employee shall be dismissed, suspended,
    28  disciplined,  reassigned,  transferred,  or otherwise retaliated against
    29  solely for acting to protect a pupil engaged in the  conduct  authorized
    30  under  this  article;  and  further no student media advisor or employee
    31  shall be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned,  transferred  or
    32  otherwise  retaliated  against  solely for an action, undertaken in good
    33  faith with this article, which results in the prohibition of the  publi-
    34  cation of speech pursuant to this article.
    35    7.  Political  expression  by students in school-sponsored media shall
    36  not be deemed the use of public funds for political purposes.
    37    8. This section shall not apply to any private middle or  high  school
    38  that  is  controlled by a religious organization, to the extent that the
    39  application of this section would not be consistent with  the  religious
    40  tenets of the organization.
    41    §  863.  Exemptions.  The  following  forms of expression shall not be
    42  protected by this article:
    43    1. Expression that is libelous, slanderous or obscene;
    44    2. Expression that constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
    45    3. Expression that violates federal or state law; or
    46    4. Expression that incites students to  commit  an  unlawful  act,  to
    47  violate  the  policies  of the educational institution, or to materially
    48  and substantially disrupt the  orderly  operation  of  such  educational
    49  institution.
    50    §  864.  Liability.  No expression made by students in the exercise of
    51  free speech or freedom of the press protected by this article  shall  be
    52  deemed  to be an expression of policy, opinion or position of the educa-
    53  tional institution, nor shall any such expression be considered to be an
    54  endorsement in any way by the educational institution and no educational
    55  institution, student media advisor, employee, parent, legal guardian  or
    56  administrator  of an educational institution shall be held liable in any

        A. 9801--B                          3
     1  civil or criminal  action  for  any  expression  made  or  published  by
     2  students,  except  in  cases of willful or wanton misconduct. Nothing in
     3  this section shall be construed to create any private action  on  behalf
     4  of  a student other than to seek injunctive relief allowing the publica-
     5  tion of the speech in question.
     6    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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