The Student Press Law Center answered 1,364 requests for legal advice from 1,336 high school and college student journalists and advisers in 1992. Over the past five years, the number of calls to the center--the only national advocacy agency for student journalists--has jumped 143 percent, a recent report says.
The increasing volume of inquiries is mostly due to a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, that gave school officials greater authority to control student expression. In 1992, 27 percent of the students who called had questions about censorship, 13.6 percent had concerns about libel and invasion of privacy, and 12.3 percent had questions about freedom of speech; others called about copyright, confidentiality, and other legal issues, the report says.
"The Hazelwood decision has given school officials much more authority to censor, and school officials have sadly taken advantage of the added power they've been given,'' said Mark Goodman, the executive director of the Student Press Law Center.
Teenagers in religious families who are admonished to wait until their wedding night to have sexual intercourse are far more likely to marry young, researchers from East Tennessee State University report.
Their work, based on data collected from the 1979 and 1984 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, is described as the first national study to examine how religious background influences teenage marriage practices.
White conservative Protestants were more than twice as likely to marry by age 19 as white Roman Catholics, the study found. Both religious traditions urge chastity before marriage, but those families that "emphasize the sinful nature of nonmarital relationships'' may lead both parents and teenagers to view early marriage as the only acceptable means of consummating romantic relationships, according to the study.
The researchers found that 43.4 percent of white conservative Protestant women--including Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and Churches of Christ members--married before age 19. By comparison, 25.3 percent of white "mainline'' Protestant women married as teenagers, as did 19.8 percent of Catholic women.
Of the white men surveyed, 17.8 percent of conservative Protestants reported marrying in their teenage years, while 9.6 percent of mainline Protestants and 7 percent of Catholics married by age 19.--JESSICA PORTNER