The New Jersey Senate Education Committee unanimously voted in favor of a New Voices bill after hearing testimony from student journalists and advocates. The bill heads to the Senate floor next.
Three students testified in favor of the bill. So did representatives from the Garden State Scholastic Press Association
, the New Jersey chapter
of the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey New Voices
Sommer Ingram Dean, Staff Attorney for the Student Press Law Center
, provided expert testimony, pointing out that student speech law under Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
standard is “vague and inadequate for teaching sound principles of journalistic integrity.”
Dean said S1176
would “restore the level of free speech afforded to students in the famous 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines
The bill may not go before the Senate floor until September, but advocates are hopeful of the outcome.
“[The unanimous vote] is a great sign that this will go in the Senate and pass, and we will be hopeful that it will pass in the assembly,” said John Tagliareni, a former New Jersey journalism teacher and current board member of the GSSPA. “This is really exciting.”