New Voices campaign makes its way through nation

Schools in Indiana and other states address recent bill


Madelyn Knight

Gonzalez High School senior Jaslyn Solis reads the National High School Journalism Convention program guide with her classmates in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 17.

Starting her high school’s paper just this year, City Lab High School adviser Tina Montgomery sees censorship from administrators in the near future, as the state of the school is Texas, which she says is more conservative. She started the program at the school after hearing of the “negative commentary about media.”

Unlike City Lab, is Francis Hall North High School in Missouri, where current Ball State University senior, Sophie Gordon previously attended. Gordon has assisted the New Voices committee in spreading their purpose and intentions of uncensored school publications in all states.

“There’s still a lot of people that think that high schoolers can’t handle not having somebody overlooking their work and having required review,” Gordon said, “but that’s not true. If you give a high school the responsibility of printing a newspaper, nine times out of 10, they’re going to step up and be responsible.”

Gordon, along with Montgomery, believes that students’ voices are important, especially in the New Voices bill making its way across the country. Gordon interns at the Student Law Press Center, working with the Center’s Director of Engagement, Diana Klos. They both say the current goal is to go state by state and pass the New Voices bill, in order to reinforce the rights and protection without retaliation for high school journalists, through the written law on paper.

There are different challenges in each state that come with passing this law, according to Klos, who says that perseverance from the campaign is key when trying to pass these type of laws. However, there are states that are trying to pass the law, but get turned down at the last moment or claim that they just don’t have the budget to pass it. Here in Indiana, for example, there is a smaller campaign encouraging virtually the same values as New Voices, called #BeHeard.

“It’s encouraging to have more voices,” Klos said. “The more voices, the better.”

Not only does Klos promote smaller campaigns, but she suggests that students get involved with them, engage in the local media and to persevere, just as she is, with their New Voices making their ways through the nation.  



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