Remember Kuhlmeier, Why Student Journalist Deserve Free Press
The founding fathers of the United States of America held one ideal above all others when devising the plans for our current nation: Freedom. Freedom of the press is an extension of the right to free speech, and is a necessary cog in the machine of American society. It allows the voice of the people to reach far and wide, acting as a check and balance for those in power.
As student journalists, the Cricket Chirps staff believes our goals shouldn’t be any different just because we are in high school.
Currently, student journalists are at the mercy of their campus administration when it comes to what stories we can and cannot publish. This is due to the Supreme Court case Hazelwood School District versus Kuhlmeier, which gave administrators the right to censor student journalists. This is problematic for a number of reasons.
First and foremost amongst these is the current American political climate. We now live in a “fake news” world. This post-fairness doctrine society allows people to dismiss fact because their opinions do not align with it, and our democracy is suffering because of it. As student journalists, we should be fighting to remedy this and improve the world, but instead because we are “kids” we are not warranted the same press freedoms as a “real” newspaper.
This becomes even more problematic when discussing the watchdog role of journalists in a school setting. As student journalists we often find ourselves at odds with administration over stories we want to publish. This happens because the goals of this student newspaper differ from that of admin, and it can be frustrating. This is especially true because as we said in our last editorial, students want more relevance in their education. By pursuing news stories that we believe in, the Chirps staff feels we are upholding a century long legacy of questioning those who make decisions for us, and holding them accountable. The Cricket Chirps has been doing this since the beginning, but due to Hazelwood, we have been restricted from doing the job we believe in.
By pursuing real news, student journalists like us can help bring awareness to topics that matter to students to our faculty and the wider community as a whole. By doing this we are holding those in power accountable, and providing a civil service to our campus peers - even if they don’t always know what we do. Without free press, we can only do so much, and we desperately want to do more.
The Cricket Chirps staff loves Seguin High School. We are proud Matadors, but we believe a free student press is essential to helping improve and grow our campus for current students and future generations.
If we imagine a world where politicians can control what the press says, we are likely to find ourselves envisioning a dystopian future that resembles our world, but is different in the worst ways. Without free press, this could be real. By limiting free press, our educators are depriving us of the true rigor and relevance we deserve in our education, and adding to a wider societal problem of disregard for real and reliable journalism. This is why all students should stand up and support freedom of the press not only for students, but for all. Only through a truly free press can student journalists learn the craft in the most authentic way, and help improve the world as a whole by standing up for and supporting the important role of journalists in American society.