Committee approves bill protecting student journalists

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

A House panel voted 10-1 Monday to protect student journalists despite objections by one lawmaker who feared giving too much power to “children.”

SB 1384 would limit the ability of administrators to censor university, community college and public school papers. About the only time they could block publication would be in cases of libel, unwarranted invasions of privacy, violations of law of where there is “imminent danger” of inciting students or disruption of operations.

And that prior restraint would be allowed only for public school papers.

Members of the House Education Committee heard from a parade of high school journalists who cited their own experiences having stories edited or quashed by administrators. That included Henry Gorton at Sunnyslope High School who said he was barred from reporting the views of Trump supporters about issues of illegal immigration amid concerns that undocumented students would feel threatened.

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