From Censorship to Neglect?

Athens County’s Public High Schools
& Students’ First Amendment Press Rights

A report by Free Student Press
Prepared by Damon Krane
January 26, 2004


[Editor’s notes, 1/31/13 – Free Student Press was an organization dedicated to educating students on their First Amendment press rights and supporting students in their struggles to make their voices heard. I co-founded the organization with Lisa O’Keefe in late 1998. FSP was active in southeast Ohio from 1999 to 2005.

The following report by FSP was submitted to local school principals and released to the local media i January 2004. For coverage of the report and its reception, see “Student press group critiques policies at local schools” Athens News, 2/2/04; “Workshops offer information on students’ right to free press,” The Post, 2/4/04; and
“Group seeks to inform high school students of First Amendment rights,” Athens Messenger, 1/28/04.

For a more extensive account of the controversy surrounding the independent student publication LockDown at Nelsonville-York High School, see my article in the Fall 2000 edition of Democracy & Education, “Free Student Press: Because 12 years is too long to be silenced” and my December 2000 blog post “Public schools aren’t supposed to be ‘enclaves of totalitarianism,’ but some local school officials and police never learn.” Links to some of the extensive media coverage of that controversy can be found there, as well as within the footnotes to this report and the “My Organizing” section of this website.]

Cover Letter to Principals

Dear Principal […],

The local student press rights advocacy group Free Student Press has recently conducted a study of your high school’s student handbook along with those from all other Athens County public high schools. Our purpose has been to examine what policies, if any, the handbooks contain regarding student publications and students’ First Amendment press rights. We have compiled our findings and recommendations along with information on the press rights of students at US public schools and provided a copy to the administration of each Athens County high school.

To raise general public awareness of how constitutional press rights apply to students at school, this report has also been released to the local media and will be the subject of a press conference on Tuesday, January 27. In addition, Free Student Press will be holding a series of informational workshops for local high school students in February.

If you have any questions regarding this report, the work of Free Student Press or student press law, please contact us at […]

Thank you for your time.


Damon Krane
Co-Founder, Free Student Press


Free Student Press recently obtained the 2003/2004 editions of the student handbooks from each of the five public high schools in Athens County, Ohio. Our purpose has been to examine what policies, if any, these handbooks contain regarding students’ First Amendment press rights, and then to issue our findings and any recommendations.

Like other government-run entities, public schools are bound by law to respect the constitutional rights of US citizens, including their students. However, unlike such public institutions as Congress, City Council or the Department of Motor vehicles, public schools are the institutions through which our society attempts to prepare young people for their roles as adult citizens within a representative democracy. Consequently, it is not enough to expect public schools to refrain from violating students’ rights as citizens. Our schools should also be expected to accurately inform students of those rights. When schools fail to do so, the quality of both public education and American democracy suffer.

Each of the five public high schools in Athens County issues a newly revised handbook to all of its students at the beginning of every school year. Four of these schools combine the handbook with a daily planner, presumably to help students organize their schedules and to increase the likelihood of students retaning the handbook for future reference. Therefore, a student handbook seems an ideal medium for informing students of how their constitutional rights apply to them at school.

While Free Student Press believes that school handbooks should either outline how all constitutional rights apply to students at school or direct students to other specific sources of complete and accurate information, this report solely deals with students’ press rights. Free Student Press specializes in this area because of the crucial role these endangered rights play in the development of students’ civic consciousness and the political character of our society.

Our study of these five schools’ handbook reveals that three contain policies regarding student publications; two contain no such policies; and none of the handbooks fully and accurately informs students of their First Amendment press rights. Indeed, no handbook mentions that students have such rights. These findings are especially disturbing given the extent of unconstitutional administrative censorship on the national and local levels (discussed below). However, the most significant obstacle to students benefiting from their constitutional press rights is not censorship but ignorance. Therefore, Free Student Press urges all Athens County schools to include accurate information on students’ First Amendment press rights in all future editions of student handbooks.


l.) Student Press Rights

Since 1969, the US Supreme Court has recognized the right of students to distribute independently produced literature at public schools without allowing school officials editorial control, so long as there is not persuasive evidence that distributing such literature would cause a serious disruption of normal school activities or invade the rights of others. This is known as the Tinker Standard, named after the case from which it comes: Tinker v. Des Moines lndependent Community School District (1969).

The reasoning behind Tinker is expressed quite well by the author of the Court’s majority opinion. “ln our system,” declared Justice Abe Fortas, “state-operated schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students in school as well as out of school are ‘persons’ under our constitution.” (1) Fortas saw fit to quote Justice Robert Jackson’s assertion in the earlier Supreme Court case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943): “That [schools] are educating the young for citizenship is reason for scrupulous protection of Constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes.” (2) Consequently, “First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment are available to teachers and students.” (3) However, student speech which “materially disrupts class work or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.” (4)

Subsequent application of the Tinker Standard has most often dealt with whether censorship was motivated by a “reasonable forecast” of disruption. That is, whether school officials acted to censor on the basis of demonstrable facts suggesting that the particular student expression in question would most likely cause a serious disruption. (5) Typically, school officials have been unable to justify censorship on these grounds before a court. However, Dodd V. Rambis (1981) provides a useful example of what the courts consider a “reasonable forecast” of disruption. In Dodd, the court upheld the suspensions of students who distributed leaflets announcing a student walkout one day after a walkout involving 54 students had occurred at the school. The previous day’s walkout, coupled with administrators’ testimony regarding increased excitement and tardiness on the part of students, convinced the court that it was reasonable for school officials to expect the leaflets would cause serious disruption. Therefore censorship was justified according to the Tinker Standard. (6)

The second portion of the Tinker Standard, which permits school officials to censor student speech that invades the rights of others, has been invoked far less frequently. Indeed, it was the likelihood of disruption that was at issue in Tinker, not whether the censored student speech invaded the rights of others in a manner distinct from any disruptive potential the speech possessed. Nevertheless, lower courts have suggested that forms of student speech unprotected by the First Amendment (e.g. libel, obscenity, and invasion of privacy) could be censored in accordance with the Tinker Standard even if the speech was not likely to cause a substantial disruption. (7) However, it is worth noting that “libel”, “obscenity”, and “invasion of privacy” are used here in their specific legal senses of the terms, which often differ significant from popular usage in everyday conversation. If an act of administrative censorship is challenged in court, school officials bear the burden of proving that the allegedly libelous (or obscene or invasive) speech was indeed that. Furthermore, one court has ruled that school officials can only censor on the basis of libel when it occurs within a production for which the school bears legal liability. (8) In the final analysis, however, students should understand and avoid the above forms of unprotected speech not only because they may provide grounds for school officials to censor but because they may also provide grounds for any affected individual to initiate a lawsuit against students. Like professional journalists, high school students writing for a photo-copied, “underground” newspaper can also be sued for libelous or invasive material, even if that material does not constitute sufficient grounds for constitutionally acceptable censorship.

Until the Supreme Court’s 1988 decision in the case of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, the Tinker Standard could be interpreted to apply to all student speech. In Hazelwood, however, the Court made an important distinction, separating student speech that occurs within school sponsored productions from that which occurs in non-school sponsored productions, and only affording the full protection of the Tinker Standard to the latter. This means that school officials are permitted to exercise extensive editorial control over official school newspapers, plays, art exhibits, and other school-sponsored productions. (9) Yet school officials are not permitted the same editorial control over non-school sponsored productions, such as independent student publications, which are still protected by the Tinker Standard. (l0)

II.) Independent Student Publications (ISPs)

More commonly known as “underground newspapers” or “zines”, independent student publications (ISPs) are produced by students, off school grounds and without the use of school resources. Students have the right to distribute these publications on school grounds, during school hours, in accordance with the Tinker Standard.

ISPs serve a number of important educational, artistic, and political functions. Within ISPs, students hone written communication and visual art skills in a real-world situation that is conducive to a high degree of individual creative freedom and extensive peer critique. Rather than carrying out a teacher’s assignment in pursuit of a grade, students’ work within ISPs is intrinsically motivated, based on what students deem to be worth their effort. Furthermore, ISPs open a forum for public dialogue that does not usually exist in the lives of teenagers. Within this forum students can venture beyond their own circles of friends to encounter a wider diversity of perspectives, challenging and enriching their own judgments about the surrounding world. The experience of establishing and governing these publications prepares students for future cooperative, organizational and leadership activities. Finally, and perhaps most controversially, ISPs shed light on the day-to-day affairs of schools, exposing school officials to greater public scrutiny and making school officials more accountable to parents and other taxpayers. For these reasons, independent student publishing provides a valuable educational experience in individual growth and democratic citizenship.

III.) Opposition to ISPs & Student Press Rights

Despite the Supreme Court’s rulings in Tinker and Hazelwood, neither the courts nor Congress ensures that students are being informed of their rights. Since Tinker, the American Civil Liberties Union and The Student Press Law Center have documented scores of violations of students’ press rights at public schools across the country. However, these documented cases only represent those in which students had enough knowledge of their press rights to know those rights were being violated. Because students are not typically well-informed in this area, it is highly unlikely that these reported cases represent all or even most cases of unconstitutional administrative censorship. The only nation-wide study ever conducted on the matter found censorship to be commonplace at public schools across the United States. “Censorship,” declared the Commission of Inquiry into High School Journalism, “is the fundamental cause of the triviality, innocuousness and uniformity that characterize the high school press.” The Commission further noted, “Where a free, vigorous student press does exist, there is a healthy ferment of ideas and opinions with no indication of disruption or negative side effects on the educational experience of the school.” (11)

Free Student Press was founded by young people who experienced unconstitutional censorship as high school seniors in southwestern Pennsylvania during the 1996/1997 school year. FSP began working in Athens County, Ohio in July, 1999. In October 1999, students at Nelsonville-York High School distributed the first issue of their independent publication LockDown.

Five days after LockDown’s debut, the NYHS administration told its publishers they were not within their legal rights to publish LockDown and that students would be suspended if “anything like this turns up again” — even if distribution occurred outside school property. To further deter publication of future issues, then NYHS principal Tim Flesher informed the family of Devin Aeh, one of LockDown’s primary organizers, that Devin would be stripped of her status as class valedictorian, and consequently lose access to many college scholarships, if suspended for her part in LockDown. (12) While attempting to organize a meeting of concerned students, one student reported being told by the administration that students would be arrested if they attempted to meet after school in the high school parking lot. As a result, students chose to move their meeting to nearby Buchtel Park. Buchtel Police, however, soon arrived to evict the students, claiming that according to a village ordinance students needed a permit from the mayor in order to meet at the public park. Free Student Press has been unable to locate any such ordinance in the Buchtel Village Code to support Buchtel police officers’ claim. (13)

One week after LockDown’s distribution, vague rumors of impending school violence resulted in extremely high absenteeism on the day the rumored violence was to occur. (14) In an attempt to justify censorship in accordance with the Tinker Standard, the NYHS superintendent sought to blame this disruption on the publication of LockDown and the work of Free Student Press. (15) In a press release that made reference to the Columbine school shootings, Superintendent Thomas Gumpf stated, “lt has been reported that college students [i.e. members of FSP] are providing input to members of our student body… One place where children should feel safe is in school and these individuals took that from some of our students.”(16) Although two members of the Nelsonville-York Board of Education expressed fundamental disagreement with the superintendent’s assessment, the NYHS administration’s official response to LockDown remained unchanged. (17)

After a three-month standoff of dueling letters between the schools’ and students’ attorneys and additional coverage and discussion of the issue in the local media, public sentiment appeared firmly in favor of students continuing to distribute LockDown. (18) Thus, joined by a crowd of supporters and reporters from regional media, NTHS students distributed the second issue of LockDown after school on private property adjacent to the school. Buchtel Police took the unusual measure of monitoring and photographing students and their supporters but made no further attempt to block distribution. Subsequently, no students were punished by school officials for the distribution of LockDown’s second issue, or for any of the issues that followed, all of which were distributed inside the school building during school hours. (19)

NYHS students continued to publish LockDown for the duration of the 1999/2000 and 2000/2001 school years without any resulting disruption of school proceedings or unconstitutional acts of administrative retribution. In November 2000, the Southeast Ohio chapter American Civil Liberties Union honored LockDown publishers Devin Aeh, Michael Lannan, and Jacob Thomas with the ACLU’s annual Victor Goedicke Courageous Advocate Award for these three students’ vigorous defense of students’ civil liberties. (20)

In the four years since the onset of the LockDown controversy, at least one other independent student publication has been distributed at an Athens County high school. The Student Body, published by students at Athens High, was distributed during the 2001/2002 school year. (21) Free Student Press has not learned of any attempts on the part of the AHS administration to censor The Student Body. This is encouraging given both the NYHS administration’s initial response to LockDown and reports from former Athens High School students that, prior to FSP’s work in Athens County, the Athens High School administration may have attempted to prevent distribution of an ISP called The Sink. Indeed, is worth noting that unlike their counterparts at LockDown or The Student Body, the publishers and writers of The Sink felt the need to conceal their identities from school officials through the use of pseudonyms.

Whether because these recent ISPs have not caused significant disruptions or due to the highly publicized and unsuccessful attempts to ban LockDown (which, perhaps notably, were folloed by then NYHS Principal Tim Flesher’s resignation), overt attempts to deprive students of their constitutional press rights seem to be declining or altogether absent from Athens County high schools. However, the most insidious obstacle to students benefiting from their constitutional press rights is not censorship but ignorance. Thus there remains every reason to expect local school officials to take the next step of actively teaching students about their most basic rights as American citizens. While some of this education already may be occurring within students’ social studies courses (as it should), informing students of their constitutional rights at school through student handbooks not only provides students with a conveniently accessible resource, it provides taxpayers with a verifiable record that local schools are fulfilling a crucial part of their missions. Unfortunately, this report shows that Athens County high school students are not curently being informed of their press rights through their student handbooks.

School Handbook Study

Free Student Press recently obtained the 2003/2004 editions of the student handbooks from each of the five public high schools in Athens County. Of these, three handbooks contain policies mentioning student publications. Two contain no such policies. While no handbooks contain policies explicitly violating students’ press rights, neither does a single handbook inform students of the limitations placed on the authority of administrators and teachers. (22)

l.) Alexander High School

SCHOOL PUBLICATIONS (Sponsored & Non-sponsored):

The administration has the right to censor school publications. Publications that violate the student conduct code are prohibited.

(2003/2004 Alexander High School Student Handbook, page 22)

Alexander’s policy regarding student publications is technically accurate but severely incomplete. The administration does indeed have the right to censor school publications –- but only within extremely narrow circumstances that go unmentioned. Thus despite containing a policy on student publications, the Alexander handbook provides students with no more information on their legal press rights than do the handbooks with no policies.

Alexander’s handbook does include a general section on “Students’ Rights and Responsibilities” within it’s “Student Conduct Code.” Unfortunately, the only student “right” listed is “the right to know what is expected of him or her and the consequences of violating school rules.” Thus the Alexander High School administration’s peculiar conception of “students’ rights” seems more consistent with schools that function as “enclaves of totalitarianism” rather than educational institutions that accurately teach students about their rights as US citizens.

II.) Athens High School

The 2003/2004 edition of the Athens High School student handbook contains no information on student press rights and no policy regarding independent student publications.

III.) Federal Hocking High School


ol Publications:

Our school has two publications, yearbook and a school newspaper [sic]. If you would like to participate in either of these publications, contact either Ms. Bailey or Mr. Bonner. The School paper is a place for all members of the school community, staff and students alike, to voice opinions and brings issues to the attention of us all.

(2003/2004 FHHS student handbook, page 4)

Among all five high schools in Athens County, Federal Hocking’s handbook is unique in terms of its repeated references to democratic citizenship and student involvement in shaping school policy. Indeed, according to the handbook, each year students review the handbook and submit proposed revisions to committee of teachers, parents and other students for further revision. This “site-based committee” then submits the handbook to the superintendent for final approval. Certain members of student council are empowered with authority over student events, and the FHHS handbook includes student council’s constitution. The handbook also lists extra-curricular clubs with faculty advisors, including the “First Amendment” and “Interactive Media” clubs. These appear to be among the ways “the Federal Hocking High School community strives to help all students become life-long learners, active democratic citizens, and to be flexible in their career choices.” (23)

Under the direction of current Principal George Wood, Federal Hocking High School continues to be one of the founding members of First Amendment Schools, a self-described “national school reform initiative designed to transform how schools practice and teach the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in our democracy.” (24)
According to the FAS Vision Statement, “Schools must not only teach the First Amendment; they must also find ways to model and apply the democratic first principles that they are charged with teaching.” (25)

However, like every other high school handbook in Athens County, the FHHS handbook fails to inform students of their press rights. Unlike the other two handbooks that contain policies regarding student publications, the FHHS policy does not mention independent, non-school-sponsored publications. Furthermore, the handbook’s definition of “profanity,” listed as grounds for punishment if occurring in student publications, does not inform students of the legal definition of obscenity, thereby separating unprotected speech from speech protected by the First Amendment. Indeed, punishing students for “swearing” in an independent student publication, as the handbook suggests could occur, would be a clear violation of students’ constitutional rights.

In our ostensibly democratic system of government, rights are limits placed on the power of the government to interfere with citizens’ activities. Empowered by the state and federal governments, school officials’ power over students is limited by students’ constitutional rights. Thus informing students of their press rights via the FHHS handbook would be thoroughly consistent with the stated FHHS mission of preparing students for active democratic citizenship, consistent with the vision of First Amendment Schools, and consistent with a host of other exemplary practices employed by FHHS.

lV.) Nelsonville-York High School

School Sponsored Publications:

Students involved in student publications will convey information with accuracy, truthfulness and suitability.

Non-School Sponsored Publications:

Students who edit, publish and/or wish to distribute non school sponsored handwritten, printed or duplicated matter among their fellow students within the schools must assume responsibility for the content of the publication. Students may be restricted as to the time, place, and manner of distribution, or may be prohibited from distribution in accordance with administrative regulations approved by the Board.

Any person or organization wishing to distribute material to a school, either to faculty, staff or students must submit a copy of said materials to the Principal for approval.

(NYHS Student Handbook, page 33)

Given the NYHS administration’s highly publicized recent failures to respect the constitutional rights of its students, it is not surprising that NYHS has the most extensive handbook policy on students press rights of any high school in the county. One might also expect that the NYHS policy would accurately inform students of their press rights. If so, one would be disappointed.

Students may indeed “be prohibited from distribution in accordance with administrative regulations approved by the Board” — as long as Board regulations do not violate the Tinker Standard. It would take no more than eight additional words to refer students to Tinker V. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) instead of some vague “administrative regulations approved by the Board” located we know not where. Yet like the student publication policy in Alexander’s handbook, the NYHS policy omits the very limits placed on the authority of administrators that in fact constitute students’ press rights. Thus, as far as students’ press rights are concerned the relatively lengthy NYHS policy is identical to the lack of a policy. This is especially disturbing for a district with a recent history of misinforming students of their press rights and attempting to deny students those rights.

Furthermore, no court has ever upheld as constitutional a policy of prior review like Nelsonville-York’s requirement that “Any person or organization wishing to distribute material to a school, either to faculty, staff or students must submit a copy of said materials to the Principal for approval.” The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of administrators requiring students to submit independent student publications to administrative review before distribution, as do five of the fourteen US Circuit Courts of Appeal –- including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Ohio. Among the remaining circuit courts to have ruled on the issue, we find conflicting rulings. Three Circuit Courts of Appeal have ruled that, without evidence of a likely disruption, prior review constitutes a unconstitutional prior restraint on speech. (26) Four have ruled that it is possible for public school officials to draft a prior review policy that is constitutional in the absence of a reasonable forecast of disruption. (27) Yet even within these latter four court’s jurisdictions, only one prior review policy has ever been accepted as constitutional. (28) Conqequently, there exists no legal precedent supporting the NYHS prior review policy and multiple precedents suggesting it is a clear violation of students’ First Amendment rights.

Free Student Press joins the Journalism Education Association (29) and the Student Press Law Center in opposing the practice of prior review. We urge the Nelsonville-York Board of Education to abandon its policy. (30)

V.) Trimble High School

The 2003/2004 edition of the Trimble High School student handbook contains no information on student press rights and no policy regarding independent student publications.


Free Student Press urges local schools to teach students about their First Amendment press rights by including information in student handbooks and elsewhere in the school curriculum. Free Student Press also urges parents and other community members to encourage school officials to fulfill this request by attending school board meetings and contacting school officials through other means. For their cooperation in this study, Free Student Press thanks the administrations of Alexander, Athens, Federal Hocking, Nelsonville-York, and Trimble High Schools. Free Student Press offers its assistance to school officials, parents and other concerned community members eager to develop handbook policies and other measures which help students to enjoy the benefits of their constitutional rights as US citizens. We have provided the following model handbook policy with this end in mind.

Model Policy

Independent Student Publications (ISPs):

ISPs are produced by students off school grounds, without the use of school resources and without school sponsorship. ln accordance with the First Amendment of the US constitution and the US Supreme Court’s rulings in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988), students have the right to distribute, on school grounds and during school hours, ISPS not edited or approved by school officials, as long as nothing in an ISP is likely to cause a major disruption of school activities or invade the rights of others. Just like other journalists, the creators of ISPs can be sued for publishing speech not protected by the First Amendment such as libel, invasion of privacy, obscenity or the unauthorized reproduction of copyright-protected material. To learn more about protected and unprotected speech, contact the Student Press Law Center at (703) 807-1904, visit or refer to the book Law of the Student Press.

About Free Student Press

Free Student Press contributes to struggles for a more just and equitable world by working to heighten ordinary American citizens’ senses of democratic entitlement and civic responsibility. Free Student Press: 1) informs public high school students of their legally protected First Amendment press rights to distribute their own publications at school, free from the censorship of school officials; 2) promotes grassroots media as a forum for empowering, informative and critical public dialogue; and 3) utilizes this dialogue as the basis of ongoing empowering educational work outside the confines of the traditional classroom. Free Student Press is committed to freedom of speech, universal access to public/mass media, learner-directed education and popular democracy. For more information on student press rights and how to support the work of Free Student Press, contact FSP spokesperson Damon Krane at […]


(1) Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, 393 U.S. 511 (1969).

(2)Id. at 507

(3)Id. at 506

(4)Id. at 514

(5)Within this report, “censorship” refers to both the suppression of speech (e.g. prohibiting students from distributing a student newspaper) and punishment for speech (e.g. suspending students for distributing a student newspaper).

(6) Dodd v. Rambis, 535 F. Supp. 23 (S.D. Ind. 1981).

(7)Nitzberg v. Parks, 525 F.2d 378 (4th Cir. 1975); Frasca v. Andrews, 403 F. Supp. 1043 (E.D.N.Y. 1979)

(8)Kuhlmeier v. Hazelwood School District, 795 F.2d 1368, 1375-76 (8th Cir. 1986).

(9)While Hazelwood allows administrators to exercise editorial control
over school sponsored productions when there is not a written policy or a traditional practice of students maintaining editorial control, Hazelwood does not require administrators to exercise that control. Some schools and districts across the country responded to the Hazelwood decision by crafting policies which returned to students the original speech protections of the Tinker Standard. Six states (Arkansas, Colorado, California, Iowa, Kansas, and Massachusetts) have also passed laws preventing school officials from utilizing the full power afforded them by Hazelwood. Unfortunately, efforts to pass such a law in Ohio have failed. For more information, see the Student Press Law Center’s online guide to Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier http://www.

(10) Those not content to rely on FSP’s interpretations of these two crucial Supreme Court decisions may locate their full texts through a simple online search of the Lexis-Nexis database or through a brief trip to the Athens County Law Library. For an analysis of subsequent case law applying these decisions, see Law of the Student Press (Student Press Law Center, 1994)

(11) Captive Voices; The Report of the Commission of Inquiry into High School Journalism p. 49 (J. Nelson ed. 1974).

(12) “Students face ‘lock-down’ on publication” The Post, 10/28/99; “Free speech or an exit out of school” Athens News, l/13/00; “Student paper at center of debate at local school” Athens News, 10/25/99

(13) While never mentioned in the extensive local media coverage of the LockDown controversy, the eviction of students from Buchtel Park and Buchtel Police officers’ claim regarding the supposed ordinance were documented on videotape by members of Free Student Press.

(14) “Nelsonville fears school violence” The Post, 11/3/99

(15) One rumor falsely claimed that the alleged plans of violence were announced on the website of Free Student Press, while another linked the supposed plans to students involved in LockDown. None of these rumors were ever substantiated and no violence occurred.

(16) Official NYHS press release issued by Superintendent Thomas Gumpf to media and read aloud at Nelsonville-York School Board meeting on Tuesday, November 2, 1999; Logan Daily, 11/3/99

(17) “Free speech or an exit out of school” Athens News, 1/13/00

(18) See letters to the editor and readers forum pieces, including: “Student paper functioning well as a tool for aiding education” Athens News, 2/14/00, and “School district’s censorship contrary to what goal of education should be” Athens News, 1/27/00. Athens News publisher Bruce Mitchell sided with LockDown’s publishers in his editorial, “Local high school gets lesson in freedom of the press,” Athens News, 2/10/00, as did the editorial board of The Post in “School needs a ‘Lockdown,’” The Post, l1/4/99.

(19) “’Lockdown’ passed out, no one suspended” Athens News, 2/10/00; “Students unlock speech rights” The Post, 2/8/00; “Student-run ‘Lockdown’ publishes again” Athens Messenger, 2/8/00

(20) “Local ACLU to honor three Nelsonville-York student journ alists” Athens News, 11/9/00
(21) Free Student Press provided similar consultation to the publishers of The Student Body and LockDown.

(22) Photocopies of the handbook pages from which these excerpts are taken are attached to this report.

(23) Excerpted from FHHS “Mission Statement,” FHHS handbook, p.2



(26) Burch v. Barker, 86l F.2d 1149 (9rh Cir. 1988); Fujishima v. Board of Education, 460F.2d 1355 (7th Cir. 1972); Riseman v. School Committee of City of Quincy, 439 F.2d 148, 149 ( I st Cir. I 971)

(27) Eisner v. Stamford Board of Education, 440 F.2d 803 (2nd Cir. 197 1; Baughman v. Freienmuth, 478 F2d. 1345 (4th Cir. 1973); Shanley v. Northeast Independent School Distict, 462F.2d 960 (5th Cir. 1972); Bystrom v. Fridley High School (Bystrom I), 822F.2d 747 (8th Cir. 1987)

(28) Bystrom v. Fridley High School(Bystrom I), 822F.2d 747 (8th Cir. 1987)

(29) Journalism Education Association Policy on Prior Review, approved March 31 , 1990. Cited in Law of the Student Press pp. 227 -228 (Student Press Law Center, 1994)

(30) Law of the Student Press p. 41 (Student Press Law Center, 1994)

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2 Responses to From Censorship to Neglect?

  1. Pingback: Public schools aren’t supposed to be “enclaves of totalitarianism,” but some local administrators and police never learn | Damon Krane

  2. Pingback: Interview with Former InterActivist Editor Damon Krane | Damon Krane

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