Illinois General Assembly

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Full Text of HB5902  99th General Assembly




HB5902 EnrolledLRB099 20463 MLM 44969 b

1    AN ACT concerning education.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Speech
5Rights of Student Journalists Act.
6    Section 5. Definitions. As used in this Act:
7    "School official" means a school's principal or his or her
9    "School-sponsored media" means any material that is
10prepared, substantially written, published, or broadcast by a
11student journalist at a public school, distributed or generally
12made available to members of the student body, and prepared
13under the direction of a student media adviser.
14School-sponsored media does not include media intended for
15distribution or transmission solely in the classroom in which
16the media is produced.
17    "Student journalist" means a public high school student who
18gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records, or
19prepares information for dissemination in school-sponsored
21    "Student media adviser" means an individual employed,
22appointed, or designated by a school district to supervise or
23provide instruction relating to school-sponsored media.



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1    Section 10. Free speech. Except as otherwise provided in
2Section 15 of this Act, a student journalist has the right to
3exercise freedom of speech and of the press in school-sponsored
4media, regardless of whether the media is supported financially
5by the school district or by use of school facilities or
6produced in conjunction with a class in which the student is
7enrolled. Subject to Section 15 of this Act, the appropriate
8student journalist is responsible for determining the news,
9opinion, feature, and advertising content of school-sponsored
10media. This Section shall not be construed to prevent a student
11media adviser from teaching professional standards of English
12and journalism to student journalists. There shall be no prior
13restraint of material prepared for official school
14publications except insofar as it violates Section 15 of this
15Act. School officials shall have the burden of showing
16justification without undue delay prior to a limitation of
17student expression under this Act.
18    Section 15. Exceptions. This Act does not authorize or
19protect expression by a student journalist that:
20        (1) is libelous, slanderous, or obscene;
21        (2) constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
22        (3) violates federal or State law; or
23        (4) incites students to commit an unlawful act, to
24    violate policies of the school district, or to materially



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1    and substantially disrupt the orderly operation of the
2    school.
3    Section 20. Liability. No expression made by students in
4the exercise of freedom of speech or freedom of the press shall
5be deemed to be an expression of school policy, and no school
6district or employee or parent, legal guardian, or official of
7the school district shall be held liable in any civil or
8criminal action for any expression made or published by
9students, except in cases of willful or wanton misconduct.
10    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
11becoming law.