Tuesday, September 30, 2008

California: School Journalism Advisor Shield Law

(Sacramento, California) Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 1370 which protects high school and college teachers and other employees from retaliation by administrators as a result of student speech.

Authored by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), the legislation is considered necessary since school administrators customarily retaliate against journalism advisors when controversial content is published in student newspapers.
“Since administrators are unable by law to exercise prior restraint with regard to a student publication, they lean on advisers to do what they legally cannot,” said Jim Ewert, Legal Counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA).

“When advisers refuse, they are punished because administrators know they will face no legal consequences. SB 1370 was necessary to close this gaping loophole in the law.”
The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2009.

It's interesting that school administrators can easily obstruct or harm a teacher's career when there is a difference of opinion while the same administrators claim they are powerless to take action when parents seek dismissal of an incompetent teacher.

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