Nebraska Bill to Protect Student Journalists Introduced

Nebraska+Bill+to+Protect+Student+Journalists+Introduced

John Robert , Writer

A bill has been introduced in Nebraska that would create protections for student journalists and student media advisers. The bill called LB88, formerly LB206 was introduced by Nebraska State Senator Adam Morfeld. It was introduced Jan. 8, 2021, referred to judiciary committee Jan. 12, 2021, and the notice of hearing is for Feb. 24, 2021.

 

The Goal of the Bill would be to create free speech protections for public postsecondary institutions student journalist and public high school student journalists to write what they want and not be disciplined for it, as long as the material is not libelous or slanderous, violating state and federal law, constituting an invasion of privacy, departing from ethical standards of journalism, incites unlawful actions, violating the policies of the school, or causing a disruption to orderly operations of the school.  

 

 “I introduced it because it is important that we protect the civil rights of those in our government institutions. In addition, we need to ensure that our young Nebraskans know the power and consequences of the first amendment and have the ability to exercise it.” Nebraska State Senator Adam Morfeld said, “The next step is to advance it out of committee and then work hard to pass it on the floor.”

 

The bill would also create similar protections for student media advisors ( An individual employed, appointed, or designated by a public high school to supervise or provide instruction relating to school-sponsored media.)so they can not be suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against for protecting student journalists who follow the free speech guidelines, or refusing to discipline students for following the free speech guidelines.

 

“LB88 is an important bill for students because everyone deserves to have their first amendment rights protected no matter their age or skill level.” Nebraska High School Press Association Board Member Angela Wolf Said, “Without this bill, school administrators can censor student publication. When students are censored, it stifles their engagement in their communities and sends a clear message that their voices are not valued or respected. Students are valuable members of our communities and, when given a chance to use their voice, they should be encouraged and supported. LB88 does this for students and makes our students and communities better.”