An Iowa court ruled last week that a school district cannot discipline a newspaper adviser for allowing students to publish content that upset the administration, in a decision hailed by free-press advocates as an important victory for journalism teachers and students.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ordered the Allamakee Community school district to remove two reprimands from Ben Lange’s personnel file that were issued after he let students at Waukon High School publish articles the principal claimed were offensive in two issues.
The court ruled that an Iowa law gives students greater free-speech rights than those afforded under a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision that granted school administrators more leeway to censor student publications. Eight other states have similar laws or rules that grant students broad press rights, but last week’s decision marked the first time a court has interpreted any of them, according to the Arlington, Va.-based Student Press Law Center.
A version of this article appeared in the November 16, 2011 edition of Education Week as Student Press Rights Get Boost in Iowa