Student Journalist Bill's Sponsor Expects Easy Path Through Senate

Mar 17, 2017

The Senate sponsor of a bill ensuring freedom of the press for students says he anticipates a relatively easy path through his chamber.

The proposed legislation would affect student-produced media in grades 5 and up and says schools cannot suppress it unless it’s libelous or profane. House sponsor Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) says journalism education is more important than ever.

“And evidence shows that journalism programs that are free from censorship promote better learning while also providing valuable reporting and commentary,” Clere says.

Courts in the last few decades have frequently curtailed student constitutional rights. But Senate sponsor of the bill Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) views this issue differently.

“This is a matter of trying to ensure that young journalists understand and respect the power of the First Amendment of our constitutional guarantees and to do so in a professional manner,” Hershman says.

The bill passed out of the House with only four votes against it. It’s now in the Senate Education Committee.