Support, utilization can motivate students without press laws

It’s been over 30 years since Hazelwood School District won the case against Kuhlmeier on student free speech. Students for years have been fired up about the fact of schools taking out the ability for students to use their right to explicitly state issues in an article or through visual media.

Since 1988, students around the nation have been using their rights from the First Amendment to demand free speech for any source of media they choose to publish. For years, students have been celebrating their rights of the press on Student Press Freedom Day, which occurred on Jan. 30. But, with anything that relates to rights as a human, especially with teens, there will always be someone who has an issue.

As one of the 14 states where student press rights are enacted, student journalists in Kansas have the ability to combat censorship on anything that isn’t obscene or libel. Unfortunately, not every state has those rights for students. So, how can we advocate for the students around the country who don’t have press laws or are subject to censorship?

It is the agreement of The Mentor editorial board that in order to encourage other students around the country who do not have press laws, we should continue to utilize the rights we are protected with and stand up for the rights we already have, which has the potential to motivate students to do the same.

Due to the fact that Kansas is a privileged state in the sense that we have student press laws and can continue writing without being subject to censorship, it’s important that we publicize the issue of not all states having proper student press laws. We are a limited public forum where we can publish any source of media without us feeling nervous about it being censored. This is important to other students across the country when they see that we are sticking up for those individuals who don’t have the same privilege as us.

Not only do our rights go for articles in the newspaper but also for photography, videography and business. For example, if someone who focuses their work on business and something is pointed out that isn’t appreciated, that affects the business financially because money isn’t being brought in. On a photography/videography angle, the rights to the photos or videos being taken cannot be taken away either.

Going along with utilizing our rights, we also benefit students and encourage them to go to their own state house and try to make change happen. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much to do from a state that has press laws and can get away without censorship in order to change the laws for other students in other states. But, support is the winner, in which if there is a massive amount of it from all of the states with student press freedom, a powerful statement can be made to not only advocate for those seeking for press laws but also to also create something revolutionary.

In the end, support is the best way to boost motivation for those other 36 states. With help from the other 13 states, change will definitely be made somewhere across the nation. Our rights as students will be used for good to help get the same rights for other students seeking for the same privilege.