State senator seeks bill for student press

Tulika Bose
UCLA Daily Bruin

LOS ANGELES (U-WIRE) – At the national college newspaper convention in San Francisco last Friday, Sen. Leland Yee introduced new legislation that would make it illegal for administrators to discipline high school and college journalism advisors based on content published in school newspapers.

Adam Keigwin, the assistant president pro tem for Yee’s office, said Senate Bill 1370 was an extension of a bill Yee introduced two years ago that specifically prohibited prior restraint by administrators toward student publications.

According to a press release, the bill will be considered by the state senate in March.

If passed, SB 1370 would make it illegal to fire, transfer, re-assign, or discipline a journalism teacher or advisor for acting in the interest of free student speech.

Keigwin said public school administrators who were uncomfortable with views or opinions expressed in student newspapers had attempted to reassign, discipline, and even fire faculty advisors who stood up for the students’ right to free speech.

“This year, we’ve heard of administrators going after the faculty as a result of student speech…. Inevitably, that is threatening free speech and the student’s right,” Keigwin said.

Darryl Adams, the former newspaper advisor for John Glenn High School, said he was removed from his post after he defended an editorial written by a student in November 2006 that criticized random searches at school.

Despite changes made by the student after the school administration found an early copy of the article, Adams said the next issues of the student newspapers were later confiscated by the administration to be checked for “errors.””I told (the administration), ‘You’re not checking the paper for errors, you’re checking it for censorship.'”

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State senator seeks bill for student press