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View Diary: What a Black Armband Means, Forty Years Later (126 comments)

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  •  The ACLU Won My HS Censorship Case (6+ / 0-)

    When I was in high school in the 1980s, I was an editor of the student newspaper. The school administration confiscated one issue of the paper because it contained an ad for Planned Parenthood. Despite the administration's threats to hurt our college chances, and our faculty advisor's siding with the administration, along with the school district's execs, we found an ACLU lawyer to sue all those school overseers. We went to court and won, securing our editorial rights to decide the content of the newspaper (that was otherwise not prohibited by law), as the NY state law had said since the early 1970s. A year later, another high school newspaper's editors cited our case in another suit (probably brought by their local ACLU) and won protection of their own rights.

    I learned more in that suit than I did from the rest of the (actually quite instructional) newspaper programme, or indeed from most classes. And I learned that the ACLU is an indispensible institution. I'm glad that we now have some additional orgs with missions similar to the ACLU's, focused in digital and networked media (like the EFF and EPIC). Our rights to free expression (and to free assembly, and to privacy, and all our other rights routinely attacked) aren't safe by themselves. They need guardians to go to work defending them. The ACLU does that all day long. And so more likely than not my own kids will be able to print and read even in their school paper (or website, or eventually maybe psychic broadcasts :) whatever its student editors see fit to print.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:53:53 PM PST

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