Senate Education Committee clears legislation to protect student journalists in New Jersey

Sen. Shirley K. Turner (D-N.J.) said student journalists should be treated the same way as writers from other major news sources.
Photo by Photo by Kelly Carmack | The Daily TargumSen. Shirley K. Turner (D-N.J.) said student journalists should be treated the same way as writers from other major news sources.

Sen. Nia Gill (D-N.J.) and Sen. Shirley K. Turner (D-N.J.) sponsored legislation that would result in protection for the rights of student journalists in public schools and institutions, according to a press release from the New Jersey Senate Democrats. 

The legislation was cleared by the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 5 to 0 last week, according to the release.

“This bill reaffirms that students should not have to shed their constitutional right to freedom of speech or freedom of expression when they enter a school building,” Gill said, according to the release. “Our students should always have their right to free speech, whether it be in school, in public or at home.”

The bill, S-108, will allow students the right to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of press, according to the release. It will also require each school district to adopt a written policy that is concerned with students’ freedom of expression and will include reasonable arrangements for the time, place and manner for it.

Employees of each school district will also not be able to be retaliated against for protecting students who exercise their freedom of expression, according to the release.

“Student journalists are real journalists, and should be treated in the same manner we would regard a writer from any major news source,” Turner said, according to the release. “Our students should have discretion over the subject matter they choose to cover, regardless of if it is challenging or controversial. Students should not have their constitutional rights checked at the schoolhouse door.”