by Konnie Krislock
Adviser of Evolution OCHSA
Only four months after the student newspaper at Orange County High School of the Arts was censored by administrators and publication was halted, SB438, amending the California Educaiton Code 48907 to include public charter shcools, passed the state sentate on Monday (Jan. 25) and is on to the assembly for consideration.
I cannot remember a movement assuring high school student press freedoms progressing at such a fast pace. And we have Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Mateo-San Francisco) to thank for his quick action in writing anc championing the bill.
When I spoke at the JEA/NSPA convention in D.C., I encouraged all journalism instructors to reach out and make a network of people who could help them if their publications came under attack. My “web” includes former students (now in the 40s and 60s), other journalism teachers who are JEA national and local members, newspaper reporters, college professors, and parents of media students (who might or might not be lawyers), and former attendees of newspapers2 (our summer journalism workshop at Cal State Long Beach), as well as members of the state legislative body.
Quick action is the key. Thanks to e-mail and cell phones, it is possible to get the word out about centorship or threats to student rights in a nano-second.
The next step here: SB438 will go to the assembly. We do not have a date for its appearance for consideration, but as one of my former students promised, “I will be devoting 15 minutes a day to this project” until it is signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. The devotion of this former student is what makes this career choice most rewarding.
For those of you in California, an e-mail to your local assembly representative will help as will a healds-up note to the governor to sign the bill once it is on his desk. With any more luck, that will be next month.