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Bill Filed Giving Rights to High School Journalists

Legislators have already begun filing bills for the next legislative session that starts in January. One measure concerns press rights for high school journalists. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Just after finishing his freshman year studying journalism at Western Kentucky University, Josh Moore met with his State Representative, Brent Yonts. Moore told Yonts he wanted state law to protect high school journalists from censorship, and Moore had done research to back up his request.

"I found that the Student Press Law Center has model legislation and so I set up a meeting with my representative Brent Yonts this summer and presented him that model legislation," Moore says. "And told him that I felt that it was important."

The bill guarantees student journalists the right to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of the press in school-sponsored publications.

Moore says the law would give students the same rights benefiting professional journalists, but also would preserve a role for school administrators.

"It doesn’t eliminate prior review so administrators still have the right to look over students’ work to make sure there is no libel or nothing that shouldn’t be published," Moore says.

Under the bill school boards are immune from civil and criminal liability based on the work of students in school-sponsored media.