Enacts the student journalist free speech act to protect student speech at educational institutions unless such speech is libelous, an invasion of privacy, or incites students to commit an unlawful act, violate school policies, or to materially and substantially disrupt the orderly operation of the school.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2019-2020 Regular Sessions
January 28, 2019
Introduced by M. of A. LUPARDO, NOLAN, GLICK, PALMESANO, ROZIC,
SEAWRIGHT, MAGNARELLI, D'URSO, ARROYO, JAFFEE, SIMON, GIGLIO,
LAWRENCE, L. ROSENTHAL, RIVERA, FAHY, GOTTFRIED, MOSLEY, ENGLEBRIGHT,
STIRPE, ABBATE, BLAKE, COLTON, SAYEGH, ABINANTI, SALKA, STECK, HUNTER,
RA, WALSH, DiPIETRO, McDONOUGH, NIOU, TAYLOR, HEVESI, FERNANDEZ,
JEAN-PIERRE, MIKULIN, M. L. MILLER, KOLB -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M.
of A. BUCHWALD, COOK, GALEF -- read once and referred to the Committee
on Education -- recommitted to the Committee on Education in accord-
ance with Assembly Rule 3, sec. 2 -- committee discharged, bill
amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit-
AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to enacting the student
journalist free speech act
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new article 18 to
2 read as follows:
3 ARTICLE 18
4 STUDENT JOURNALIST FREE SPEECH ACT
5 Section 860. Short title.
6 861. Definitions.
7 862. Student journalist free speech rights.
8 863. Exemptions.
9 864. Liability.
10 § 860. Short title. This article shall be known and may be cited as
11 the "student journalist free speech act".
12 § 861. Definitions. For the purposes of this article the following
13 terms shall have the following meanings:
14 1. "Educational institution" means grades nine through twelve of a
15 public high school in a public school district or charter school.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 3079--A 2
1 2. "School-sponsored media" means any material that is prepared, writ-
2 ten, published, or broadcast by a student journalist at an educational
3 institution, distributed or generally made available to members of the
4 student body, and prepared under the direction of a student media advi-
5 sor. "School-sponsored media" shall not include media intended for
6 distribution or transmission solely in the classroom in which the media
7 is produced.
8 3. "Student journalist" means a student enrolled in an educational
9 institution who gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records,
10 or prepares information for dissemination in school-sponsored media.
11 4. "Student media advisor" means an individual employed, appointed, or
12 designated by an educational institution to supervise or provide
13 instruction relating to school-sponsored media.
14 § 862. Student journalist free speech rights. 1. Except as otherwise
15 provided in section eight hundred sixty-three of this article, a student
16 journalist shall have the right to exercise free speech and of the press
17 in school-sponsored media, regardless of whether the media is supported
18 financially by the educational institution or by use of the facilities
19 of an educational institution or produced in conjunction with a class in
20 which the student is enrolled.
21 2. Subject to section eight hundred sixty-three of this article, the
22 appropriate student journalist shall be responsible for determining the
23 news, opinion, and feature content of school-sponsored media.
24 3. Nothing in this section shall preclude a student media advisor from
25 teaching professional standards of English and journalism to student
26 journalists or from grading the performance of a student in accordance
27 with such standards.
28 4. There shall be no prior restraint of material prepared for official
29 publications of an educational institution except for the material
30 described in section eight hundred sixty-three of this article.
31 5. Educational institution administrators shall have the burden of
32 demonstrating justification without undue delay prior to a limitation of
33 student expression under this article.
34 6. No student media advisor or employee shall be dismissed, suspended,
35 disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against
36 solely for acting to protect a pupil engaged in the conduct authorized
37 under this article; and further no student media advisor or employee
38 shall be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred or
39 otherwise retaliated against solely for an action, undertaken in good
40 faith with this article, which results in the prohibition of the publi-
41 cation of speech pursuant to this article.
42 7. Political expression by students in school-sponsored media shall
43 not be deemed the use of public funds for political purposes.
44 § 863. Exemptions. The following forms of expression shall not be
45 protected by this article:
46 1. Expression that is libelous, slanderous or obscene;
47 2. Expression that constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
48 3. Expression that violates federal or state law; or
49 4. Expression that incites students to commit an unlawful act, to
50 violate the policies of the educational institution, or to materially
51 and substantially disrupt the orderly operation of such educational
53 § 864. Liability. No expression made by students in the exercise of
54 free speech or freedom of the press protected by this article shall be
55 deemed to be an expression of policy, opinion or position of the educa-
56 tional institution, nor shall any such expression be considered to be an
A. 3079--A 3
1 endorsement in any way by the educational institution and no educational
2 institution, student media advisor, employee, parent, legal guardian or
3 administrator of an educational institution shall be held liable in any
4 civil or criminal action for any expression made or published by
5 students, except in cases of willful or wanton misconduct. Nothing in
6 this section shall be construed to create any private action on behalf
7 of a student other than to seek injunctive relief allowing the publica-
8 tion of the speech in question.
9 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.