Adviser Update Summer 2016 - Page 9

Administrators are smart people. It quickly became clear that they could censor pretty much anything they wanted so long as they came up with a reason. Over the years, the most common reason material was censored from the scholastic press was not that students were invading others’ privacy, inciting to riot, or publishing obscene material, but that what they were honestly reporting “made the school look bad.” More often than not, Hazelwood became a tool administrators used to hide the real conditions in their schools from parents and the school community. In the early years after the Hazelwood decision came down, a flurry of states that were strong on student press freedoms passed bills to limit its effect in their schools. Efforts to extend protections to other states stalled. That is, until North Dakota. In 2015, the John Wall New Voices Act passed both Republicancontrolled houses of the North Dakota legislature and was signed into law by Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple. Named for late beloved state representative and former high school journalism teacher John Wall, the bill’s passage reignited interest in passing similar bills nationwide. As president of the Maryland-DC Scholastic Press Association for most of the last 20 years, I had numerous times contacted and met with legislators in the state to try to garner interest in a free press law for Maryland and found no support. With the unanimous passage of the bill in North Dakota and a clearly