I believe every student should have a voice and should never be put down for any unnecessary foolishness. I hope this petition goes through so they can know we are her and we need these changes to be done.
For the past 3 years I have worked with a student-led organization, Providence Student Union, to support many campaigns that help students raise public concerns in schools.
Recently I learned that Rhode Island does not protect students’ free speech in schools. For example, in 2004 a Cumberland High School student drew a cartoon for his school newspaper to raise awareness about school issues. A different outcome resulted when administrators were not pleased with the drawing being published, they removed the clipping from almost 2,000 printed newspapers. Students were left to witness the first hand result of school administration censorship.
Students at the high school and college level are stuck to believe their voices does not matter because their is no law protecting it. Student journalists feel threatened by administrative censorship. While I was working with other youth, we could have easily been turned down by adults and have consequences to face. The lack of such protected indicates that would have been legal for school administrators to do.
I don’t want this to happen to me or to my peers. Students deserve the right to free speech.
Three states have protection for high school and college students, six states have protections just for high school students, and there are about 20 active campaigns happening around the nation.
Rhode Island can do this too. There are currently bills S-2899 (sponsored by Senator Gayle Goldin) and H-7677 (sponsored by Representative Jay O’Grady) that will protect student journalists.
Journalists have the responsibility to tell the truth, no matter how old they are. Please help protect students’ ability to speak up.