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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: February 28, 2023 10:54 AM
From: Representative Melissa L. Shusterman
To: All House members
Subject: PA Student Journalism Protection
Currently, Pennsylvania’s education regulations ensure students the right to express themselves through publications and other communication channels, but still allow principals and school administrators to silence student voices through prior review and restraint. Defending the free press and free speech rights of students fulfills our duty to protect their constitutional rights and lets them know that we care about their voices.
That is why I am introducing a bill that seeks to allow school districts to implement policies to place administrative review in the hands of student editors to help ensure journalistic integrity. In addition to protecting students, my legislation would also provide protections for journalism teachers and advisors.
The country has lost more than one-fourth of its local newspapers. Between 2004 and 2019, there was a 29 % decrease of local newspapers with nothing to replace them. However, they remain as the most significant providers of journalism in communities, and student journalists may be the sole source of news for these communities. This is why we need to help them without restraint from school administrators.
Freedom of the press is essential to maintaining and protecting student journalistic integrity, but the media outlet decline silences their voices.  I am an advocate for government transparency, and that starts with our students. Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation that will help to foster the same culture of transparency in our schools and support student journalists who provide an essential service to their schools and communities.

Introduced as HB1309