The Indiana High School Press Association has released the following statement of support for the student journalists and publications adviser at Plainfield High School, condemning any action that may threaten their First Amendment freedoms:
Since 1922, the Indiana High School Press Association has been a tireless advocate for the First Amendment freedoms of Indiana high school journalism advisers and student journalists, and we have done so while adhering to our core principles of truth, courage, integrity, and freedom. We have also championed the rights guaranteed to all Hoosiers in Article I, Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution, which states, “No law shall be passed, restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print, freely, on any subject whatever: but for the abuse of that right, every person shall be responsible.”
So, it is with these ideals in mind that we strongly condemn any action taken by the Plainfield School District against the student media adviser and scholastic journalists at Plainfield High School. The special edition in question, “Dating Survival Guide Declassified,” does not contain content that is libelous or gratuitously profane, nor does it promote any type of unsafe or illegal behavior to its audience. Instead, it is a collection of factual information and personal perspectives concerning a wholly relevant topic.
Members of the Plainfield HS student media department are simply following the district’s own guidelines as detailed in I-17 of the corporation’s policies: “A school publication can best function when it provides a full opportunity for students to inquire, question, and exchange ideas.” Those who have read the work by the Plainfield journalists can see that what has been distributed to the students and school community is indeed an opportunity to “inquire, question, and exchange ideas.
If school administrators or elected board members take any action against those producing and advising this content, they do so in direct contradiction to their own policies, our state’s constitution, and the First Amendment of the United States of America.
The full release can be found here for download and distribution.
For more information, please contact:
Indiana High School Press Association
Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism