Student free press laws are necessary for a healthy student community


Midway Staff

Student journalists in states not protected by a student press law must gain free press rights in order to promote social change.

Public school journalists in 16 states are supported by the state student free press laws, and some private school student journalists, including members of the Midway, also have these protections, but student journalists in the 34 other states do not have the right and ability to publish certain contents due to fears of possible repercussions.

However, student journalists in the states not protected by a student press law should gain free press rights, so they can bravely advocate for students in their communities whose stories aren’t told.  

To create a healthy and united student community within a school, journalists must be able to play a role in raising awareness through providing a unique, essential perspective on stories that their older peers may miss. 

For example, Midway stories like “Leaving Lab: Black students say school environment is unwelcoming” have raised needed awareness about important issues, something that journalists who are not protected by a state student free press law may be reluctant to do.  

Additionally, many schools claim to value democracy, but the existence of censorship and unprotected student press freedom does not support these values.

Like at U-High, student journalists everywhere should have rights to defend their community, as well as showcase those who cannot advocate for themselves. This Student Press Freedom Day, on Feb. 23, we should all honor this five-year tradition and show support for student journalists by informing ourselves about brave advocacy and student press freedom.