Adviser Update Adviser Update Winter 2018 | Page 32

without names and faces? • Is there a published board of education policy establishing your student-run publications/media as forums for student expression? Admittedly, student media are protected from administrative control under Hazelwood if they are public forums for student expression in policy or practice, but having a policy is a lot safer than relying on past practice. What happens if the “nice” principal who never prior reviewed anything suddenly leaves, and the new principal comes from a school where he always read everything? A good policy could save you. • Is your publication able to endorse political candidates if editors choose to do so? It’s a common misconception that, somehow, spending a school’s tax dollars on a student-run publication that supports a political candidate is a problem with the Internal Revenue Service. It’s not, and Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism and former director of the Student Press Law Center, even wrote a law review article about it years ago. More recently, he said, “There is no legal precedent for the notion that editorial endorsements made by student journalists are attributable to the school those students attend. And, in fact, the IRS ruled over 40 years ago that even when the school financially supports a student publication, students may publish endorsements without it signaling any endorsement of those editorials by the school. So, the school itself may not be able to endorse, but student journalists can.” • Have you ever attempted to file a Freedom of Information Act request with your school or community? Responding that your student reporters have never done so wouldn’t eliminate you for a FAPFA award. But using this means to gather information others might not want you to have certainly shows a staff that is willing to fight for their right to access information they legally have a right to get, especially if it’s information that can make a difference to their audience. If you read through these questions, you’ve essentially thought about what you would need to do to apply for a FAPFA. How did you do? If some of your answers are not what you’d like for a school that values student voices, now is the time to start doing something about it. This may take baby steps, but convincing an administrator those 45 words do belong to the students in your school is worth it. The staff and advisers who will be named FAPFA schools at the National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco in April believe so. You may not want to make this a New Year’s resolution, but, then again, maybe you do. The next applications will be due Dec. 15, 2018.