Opinion: Students need New Voices legislation

Student-journalists aren't the only ones who need New Voices legislation. Protecting student-journalists provides opportunities for everyone to talk about important issues.
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KEARSTIN CANTRELL | Opinions Editor

For years, the voices of yesterday have been censoring the voices of tomorrow.

It’s time to stop censoring student journalists.

It’s time to embrace New Voices.

New Voices, also known as The Walter Cronkite New Voices Bill, is a movement powered by student journalists intended to protect against censorship.

In other words, New Voices legislation aims to give student journalists the right to use the First Amendment.

It would also undo the precedent set by the Supreme Court in the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case in 1988. At the end of the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case, it was decided that the students’ First Amendment right was not violated when the school’s principal prevented the publication of articles on teen pregnancy and divorce.

Fourteen states have passed New Voices legislation. And hopefully, Missouri will soon be added to that list of states.  

The New Voices logo, featured above, is a great reminder that the voices of student journalists are important.
Graphic by Michelle Sproat

This is the third year the bill has been presented in the state of Missouri. In years past, the legislation passed the House with ease but fell flat in the Senate.

The bill was recently approved in the House with a 129-20 vote and will soon be sent to the Senate Education Committee.

To be frank, the censorship of student-journalists is unacceptable.

Here at Lindenwood, the work of The Legacy and Lindenlink has been, at times, controversial. Fortunately for us, administration may express its frustrations with us about the content we publish, but it has been rare that our voices are stifled entirely.

However, at some schools this is not the case.

In some schools, student publications wouldn’t have been allowed to cover the case of a student exposing sexual partners to HIV.

In some schools, student publications wouldn’t have been permitted to cover three basketball players being charged in connection with a campus rape and later on, covering the fact that charges were dropped for two of the three. 

In some schools, student publications would have been censored from reporting on a student being charged with felony invasion of privacy for recording the sexual encounters of a roommate.

You might ask yourself two things.

The first being, “What is the deal with sexual misconduct at Lindenwood?”

I wish I had an answer for that one, but I don’t.

The second, “How can I help?”

That one I do have an answer for.

Read up. Educate yourself further. Become an advocate. Use your voice to promote the New Voices legislation.  

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