Freedom of the press is always a choice topic in high school journalism classes, especially among those who have responsibility for producing the school's newspaper. So many cheered a few weeks ago when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Teacher Protection Law, a measure sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association to shield high school and college journalism advisers from discipline or removal from their positions for refusing to censor stories published in student newspapers. The new state law, SB 1370, pushed through the legislature by State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) specifically prohibits a school employer from dismissing, suspending, disciplining, reassigning, transferring or otherwise retaliating against an employee solely for acting to protect a pupil engaged in conduct protected by statute, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or Section 2 of Article I of the California Constitution. Besides the CNPA, which this newspaper belongs to, the measure was also supported by the California Teachers Association and the ACLU. It would also clarify that a graduating student can challenge a disciplinary action for engaging in protected speech activities if the action was taken while the student was still enrolled at the school.
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posted Friday, October 10, 2008, 12:00 AM