Speaking truth to power

On Thursday and Friday, UNC hosted a conference to evaluate the impact of the Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier decision 25 years ago.

This event, hosted by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy and the Student Press Law Center, among others, was a proactive step in fostering important discussions on free speech as the Hazelwood decision has made its way onto college campuses.

The University has a long-standing tradition of free expression, making it an appropriate place to host the symposium.

Last year, a ceremony was held to honor those who protested against the Speaker Ban Law in 1963 that barred anyone with communist ties from speaking on the University’s campus.

This newspaper has been an educational nonprofit independent of UNC since 1989; many similar newspapers across the nation remain attached.

The conference brought the importance of freedom of speech and expression in high schools, and also some college campuses, back into discussion. Both are important basic rights for journalists and students in general that administrators must respect.

Expression and education go hand-in-hand.

While restricting expression can hinder journalists, its effect on learning is less direct but equally potent.

Unrestricted journalism and expression allow for environments in which students can generate their own opinions with the best information possible.

The discussions from the first day of the symposium included how schools, particularly high schools, can loosen restrictions on journalism while also promoting civic and civil engagements from their students.

Education policymakers should take the ideas and discussion into account when examining regulations on speech in schools.

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