NEW VOICES FLORIDA
In November, the FSPA Board unanimously voted to support New Voices Florida and the pursuit to protect scholastic journalists from censorship. The official statement is below.
The Florida Scholastic Press Association is committed to educate, train and support scholastic journalists and their faculty advisers in the State of Florida. We accomplish this by providing resources and opportunities for students to learn and practice the ethical responsibilities expected of journalists.
FSPA believes by teaching students the First Amendment and allowing them to work within those rights granted to them by the U.S. Constitution, scholastic journalists not only create media imperative to keeping their school and communities informed, but they become engaged citizens in our democracy.
However, many school administrators in Florida censor student journalists and punish the advisers who challenge their decisions, in part due to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. For more than 30 years, this precedent has created an unequal practice of freedom of speech, press and expression in schools across the state.
FSPA and its 250 student media organization members stand with the New Voices Florida movement, and every scholastic journalist and their adviser in the state of Florida, to protect student press freedom with a state law that safeguards students’ First Amendment rights and aligns with Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis’s commitment to civics education. To date, 14 states have passed similar legislation.
FSPA is unwavering in our support of scholastic journalists in Florida and will continue to help find solutions that will set students up for success now inside the classroom, and later in society.
Why is New Voices important?
In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier that school administrators can censor school-sponsored media when “reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.” This vague standard has allowed administrators to engage in subjective and arbitrary censorship without an articulable “pedagogical concern.” Censored stories often address issues adults don’t want to discuss, are critical of the school administration, expose scandals in the school, or just make the school “look bad.”
SIGN THE PETITION
Let the world know you support scholastic journalism and the First Amendment and sign the change.org petition to end censorship of Florida's student journalists. Share the petition with other students, advisers, and supporters of journalism.