New Voices Texas
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After details emerged following the media storm that swept the state and nation following the Prosper ISD student press censorship allegations in May, journalism advisers in Texas have turned their ears — and their voices — toward the attention they believe is long overdue. Friends of scholastic journalism are speaking out about student press rights in Texas, or the lack thereof.
Finally, the public is taking notice.
Partner organizations around the country took action — most notably, the Student Press Law Center, which drafted a comprehensive letter to Prosper ISD administration, condemning the censorship, strict editorial prior review policy and the contract non-renewal of a veteran adviser. The Texas Association of Journalism Educators sent its own letter to Prosper as well, echoing those sentiments. And although the letters served as both a targeted censure toward a campus principal and a message to all who may try to quash scholastic press rights, its effect regrettably may fade with the next news cycle.
The situation in Prosper sparked dialogue across the country, bringing to the front the real issue at hand: the 1988 Hazelwood ruling itself, the power it gives to campus administrators, and the often vague and heavy-handed ways in which some principals choose to interpret it.
Calling out administrators when they appear to overstep is one way — and a very strategic one — to keep the issue of student press rights in the spotlight.
Here’s another: although it is the largest state journalism educator association in the nation, the Texas Association of Journalism Educators, along with scholastic press rights' supporters, have a long road ahead in using the recent events to re-ignite a campaign for student press freedom by championing the New Voices legislation. The bill stalled in committee during the last legislative session and is expected to be reintroduced when lawmakers return in January. TAJE wants to make 2019 the year we #CureHazelwood in the Lone Star State.
Until then, we’ve got work to do. And here’s how you can help:
SIGN UP: Signing on to this position will help propel New Voices legislation by showing broad support across the state, not just from specific interest groups.
We’ve got our work cut out for us. When can you start?
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