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AN ACT concerning education.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
This Act may be cited as the
Rights of Student Journalists Act.
As used in this Act:
"School official" means a school's principal or his or her
"School-sponsored media" means any material that is
prepared, substantially written, published, or broadcast by a
student journalist at a public school, distributed or generally
made available to members of the student body, and prepared
under the direction of a student media adviser.
School-sponsored media does not include media intended for
distribution or transmission solely in the classroom in which
the media is produced.
"Student journalist" means a public high school student who
gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records, or
prepares information for dissemination in school-sponsored
"Student media adviser" means an individual employed,
appointed, or designated by a school district to supervise or
provide instruction relating to school-sponsored media.
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Except as otherwise provided in
Section 15 of this Act, a student journalist has the right to
exercise freedom of speech and of the press in school-sponsored
media, regardless of whether the media is supported financially
by the school district or by use of school facilities or
produced in conjunction with a class in which the student is
enrolled. Subject to Section 15 of this Act, the appropriate
student journalist is responsible for determining the news,
opinion, feature, and advertising content of school-sponsored
media. This Section shall not be construed to prevent a student
media adviser from teaching professional standards of English
and journalism to student journalists. There shall be no prior
restraint of material prepared for official school
publications except insofar as it violates Section 15 of this
Act. School officials shall have the burden of showing
justification without undue delay prior to a limitation of
student expression under this Act.
This Act does not authorize or
protect expression by a student journalist that:
(1) is libelous, slanderous, or obscene;
(2) constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
(3) violates federal or State law; or
(4) incites students to commit an unlawful act, to
violate policies of the school district, or to materially
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and substantially disrupt the orderly operation of the
No expression made by students in
the exercise of freedom of speech or freedom of the press shall
be deemed to be an expression of school policy, and no school
district or employee or parent, legal guardian, or official of
the school district shall be held liable in any civil or
criminal action for any expression made or published by
students, except in cases of willful or wanton misconduct.
This Act takes effect upon