Students Protected by the New Voices of Illinois Press Freedom Law

Students Protected by the New Voices of Illinois Press Freedom Law

Ryan Sanchez, Editor

On August 1st, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new bill that protects high school student journalists’ rights from administrative tyranny.

New Voices of Illinois Press Freedom Law, or HB 5902, is a big deal for every student journalist who is writing a gripping story. That is because HB 5902 shields these young journalist from administrative prior review and prior restraint. This ultimately means that the students have the right to choose what content is being covered in their articles.

“This is such great news, it is my article, I wrote it. If I want it to be published then I can,” said senior  Kenia Lomax

Now, this new law does not allow students to write articles that can cause harm to others, contain fibs and falsehoods,  invade another’s privacy, and induce disruptive and wrongful behavior. However, HB 5902’s primary focus is to insure the publication of a student’s article even if an administrator does not like his or her article for whatever reason.

HB 5902 is very important because it overthrows the rules that followed the Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier case; which allowed any administrator to withhold an article from being published with justification. In reality, administrators would censor articles from being published because they wanted too, which is how the principal of Steinmetz College Prep silenced a student’s articles earlier this year.   

“I really like this new law, I can express myself without having to worry about administrators taking down my article,” said  senior Mayra Barrios.

Everyone seemed to be in favor of the new bill because it passed 117-0 by the House and then 51-0 by the Senate. This is a big step forward for high school journalists and advisers.