Two student journalists urged a House Committee to give them rights over their schools to publish and air their stories.
Wrap: The bill's sponsor cited to the House Emerging Issues Committee the recent MU campus episode in which a university teacher blocked student journalists from covering protesters.
Springfield Republican Elijah Haahr also cited a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision involving the St. Louis County school district of Hazelwood that gave public schools the right to censor stories by student journalists.
|Description: "Primarily, in context of Hazelwood, its been so accepted as the law of the land that just nothing and no one has really challenged it. So I think this kind of sets a new a day in Missouri, a new tone for student journalists in my opinion."|
On the other side, committee member Mike Colona said the bill did not account for parents of high school children who would not be pleased with a school administration that let their child report on contentious issues.
Missouri's House Emerging Issues Committee was urged to give student journalists more rights to put out their stories without school interference.
Wrap: Among those urging for student rights was the director of the the national Student Press Law Center.
Frank LoMonte said it was crucial to give student journalists the right to report about controversial issues.
He said giving local residents the option to accept or reject certain controversial issues does not work, especially in the case of free speech.
He rejected the idea of letting local school officials intefere.
|Description: "We tried local option civil rights for the first two centuries of our country and that didn't work so good. Civil rights aren't to be given out by local option. There are just some things that are too important for that"|
But committee member Mike Colona argued that high schools do not have the same kind of leeway that universities enjoy in terms of what they allow journalism students to partake in, and the opinions of their parents need to be considered.
A proposal to block schools from censoring student journalists came under question from a St. Louis lawmaker at a hearing of the House Emerging Issues Committee.
Wrap: Representative Mike Colona said the bill did not take parents into consideration when discussing hot-button issues.
He said allowing student journalists to print controversial topics is more complicated with high school children who are still under their parents' roof.
|Description: "If you support the first amendment, if you support the freedom of students to discuss those issues, but yet you want to be respectful to parents who are sensitive about those issues, how do you answer that question?"|
Colona questioned giving the same rights over schools for both high school and college students.
But one high school and one college student urged the committee to give them more protection to report their stories.