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After national media attention and SPLC intervention, California superintendent backs down, allows high school paper to run story about student working in porn

   In April, Bear Creek High School in California made news for all the wrong reasons when word spread that the superintendent tried to suppress a story about an 18-year-old student who works in the porn industry. The story did not contain graphic language, images or descriptions of the young woman's work. The superintendent demanded prior review, wanted to prevent publication of the story and threatened to fire the award-winning adviser of the Bruin Voice, Kathi Duffel, if she didn't comply.
   Thankfully, Duffel contacted the SPLC's legal hotline, and we utilized our Attorney Referral Network to connect her with Matthew Cate, senior associate at Farella Braun + Martel LLP, who took on the case pro bono. 
   California's Education Code Section 48907 protects student press freedom and prohibits prior restraint, which put her on strong legal ground. Things got even shakier for the district when local, state and national media outlets picked up the story. This is just a small sample of the coverage:
   We could go on!
   Ironically, by trying to suppress the story, the district made it go viral. The superintendent eventually backed down, and the story ran in the Bruin Voice on May 3.
   "When all is said and done, the Bruin Voice will issue an FOIA request to see just how much money — your money — the district spent on attorney fees to fight this baseless claim," the students promised in an editorial.
Read the Bruin Voice's editorial
   This was a win for student press freedom, but in the 36 states without New Voices laws, things could have gone much worse for Duffel and her students. Too many great advisers, like Lori Oglesbee-Petter, Katie Moreno and Scott Morris have been forced out of their jobs for defending their students' right to publish important, but controversial stories. 
   We hope you'll join the New Voices movement, and help us fight for student press rights in all 50 states.
More about New Voices

June 14 deadline for SPLC student press freedom awards

   We are excited to receive nominations for our high school journalism and college journalism awards that recognize exceptional efforts in fighting for student press freedom. 
   Don't be shy about nominating your publication or studentsDetails here. The awards celebrate the determination and success, despite difficulty or resistance, of student journalists/student news organizations exercising their First Amendment press rights.
   We appreciate our partners for the high school award — Center for Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University and the National Scholastic Press Association. And, for the college award — the Louisiana State University Manship School of Communications and the Associated Collegiate Press.
Nominate Now

Q: What information does the Clery Act give me access to?

A: Any college or university that accepts federal funding is required to notify the campus community when certain crimes are reported. Every school must keep an annual statistical report, a daily crime log, and make "timely reports" to the community when certain crimes are reported that are considered to be a threat to other students or employees. The act requires the campus police to update the crime log within 48 hours of an incident, and the report must be available for inspection during normal business hours. The log must include the nature of the crime, the date it occurred and the date it was reported, the time and general location of each crime, and the disposition of the complaint, if known.

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