Freedom of the Press & School Newspapers

From the United States Courts website 

This case study-based lesson plan summarizes the arguments, reasoning and decision of the the Supreme Court in the pivotal 1988 Hazelwood case, which addressed whether a principal had the right to prohibit a school newspaper's publication of articles that he deemed inappropriate, in a school newspaper. 

The online lesson plan includes four parts:  a Facts and Case Summary, a set of Talking Points and Discussion Questions, and a Supreme Court Simulation.


How do you use it?

This no-frills case study lesson plan is an interesting (and fairly simple) way for judges and teachers to expose high school students to the student journalists' First Amendment right of freedom of speech in a school publication setting. The lesson plan acts as a guide for a classroom simulation of the arguments in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988). 

There is also a very good "Talking Points" section, with pertinent questions and possible answers "pro" and "con."

Judges or teachers who would be interested in giving students hand-on experience with this material might want to check out an additional resource,  Social Media & Student Speech.  That resource, listed on this website, would make a solid follow-up for this less interactive one on Press Freedom in schools. 

Who is the audience?

This resource is geared towards high school and college students in both its sophistication and in the parallel of the age of the student journalists in the case and the age of the audience for the prepared case study.  While the case does not have any bells and whistles, it is clear and informative.

What other resources will complement this?

  1. 45 Words   Video & lesson Plan from the Newseum (H, A)  
  2. Pillars of the First Amendment  Lesson plan from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (M, H, A)
  3. Social Media & Student Speech  Lesson plan from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (H, A)

Additional Recommended Resources Off-Site Links

  1. A Constitutional Timeline
    • Multi-aged audience timeline that highlights key dates in history of Constitution, with links to text, audio and video clips. From National Constitution Center's Constitution Day site. 
  2. Interactive Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that enables users to search Constitution by keyword or topic, with access to explanatory materials throughout. From National Constitution Center.   
  3. The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that lists the text of each section of every article in the Constitution, and provides explanation of what the text means in plain language.  From the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics. 
  4. Understanding the Federal Courts
    • Multi-aged online textbook-type document that includes sections on Article III, the Federal Court system and the geographical boundaries of the Courts of Appeal and the District Courts, the code of conduct for judges, juror qualifications, exemptions and terms of service, as well as categories of bankruptcy cases.  From the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.