Hazelwood panels highlight Washington conference

By David W. Bulla

A pair of panels devoted to the 1988 Hazelwood U.S. Supreme Court case will be the featured events for the Scholastic Journalism Division of AEJMC at the 2013 conference in Washington, D.C., in August. The conference will feature another key figure in student civil rights history, Mary Beth Tinker, who will give a talk to the division.

The first Hazelwood event will come on Friday, Aug. 9 at 3:15 p.m. at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Washington. Titled “Life after 25 Years of Hazelwood,” that panel features Cathy Kuhlmeier Frey, the lead plaintiff in the Hazelwood School District et al. v. Kuhlmeier U.S. Supreme Court case. The court ruled in that 25-year-old high case against strong protections for student freedom of the press.

Moderating the panel will be Professor Dan Kozlowski of Saint Louis University. Other panelists include Edwin Darden, education law and policy director of the non-profit group Appleseed, Mark Goodman of Kent State State University and Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center. The event is also sponsored by the Law and Policy Division.

Next up on Hazelwood from the Scholastic Journalism Division will be a discussion from the perspective of the adviser. On Saturday, Aug. 10, at 3:30 p.m., the division will host a panel discussion titled “Advising: Pre- and Post-Hazelwood Experiences.” Panelists include Jeff Browne of the University of Kansas, Karen Flowers of the University of South Carolina, Diana Hadley of Franklin (Indiana) College and the Indiana High School Press Association, and LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center. LoMonte will serve as moderator.

The Hazelwood decision (a 5-3 verdict) gives the administration of public schools the power to censor student publications in some situations—whenever, in the administration’s view, there are legitimate pedagogical concerns, although what those concerns remain the topic of vigorous debate both by educators and legal experts.

The Supreme Court decision turned back a Court of Appeals ruling, which had reversed a District Court verdict. The stories that the administration objected to concerned divorce and teen pregnancy. The Hazelwood East High School principal decided to let the edition of the newspaper be published but without either of the two stories he deemed to be inappropriate. Kuhlmeier, who was the editor of the student newspaper (The Spectrum), along with two other students, Leslie Smart and Leanne Tippett, sued the school district in 1984. The newspaper was published as part of a journalism class at Hazelwood East. There were some in the news media who actually supported the court’s decision, and they claimed that the school acted as publisher and had the power to censor.

Things were different in the 1960s, and Mary Beth Tinker will speak at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8 about her experiences. She will look back to 1965 when she, her brother John Tinker and fellow student Christopher Eckhardt wore black armbands to memorialize the dead in the Vietnam War at their Des Moines, Iowa, public schools. The three were suspended by their school administrators. This led to the 1969 Supreme Court decision Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which upheld student freedom of expression. Mary Beth Tinker and division members will be giving out black armbands at the AEJMC Conference as a reminder of the importance of the right to protest.  The moderator for Tinker’s session will be Don Corrigan of Webster University.

The week will kick off for the Scholastic Division with the Capital Teach-In on Wednesday. Ellen Austin, the Dow Jones National Teacher of the Year, headlines this year’s speakers at the Teach-In, which is geared to reach out to high school advisers in the Washington area. Austin is the adviser of the sports magazine Viking at Palo Alto High School in California. She has her degree from the University of Minnesota. It will be held off-site.  Also taking part are Tinker, LoMonte and Allissa Richardson of Bowie State University. Calvin L. Hall of Appalachian State and Logan Aimone of the National Scholastic Press Association will preside over the Teach-In. The Capital Teach-In will be held at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

On Thursday morning at 8:15, the Scholastic Journalism Division will host a panel titled “How SPJ Student Chapters Contribute to College Media Programs.” Panelists include George Daniels of the University of Alabama, Matt Duffy of Georgia State University, Vincent Filak of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Joe Grimm of Michigan State University. At 11:15 a.m. that day, the Scholastic Journalism Division will co-host with the Community College Journalism Association a teaching panel titled “The Vulnerable Status of Journalism Programs and Student Newspapers.” One of the panelists is division member Sally Renaud of Eastern Illinois University.

At 1:30 on Thursday, the division will host a panel on sports journalism. It is titled “Sports Design Trends in the 21st-Century Press.” Panelists include Austin of Palo Alto, Gary Metzker of California State University at Long Beach, Nick Geidner of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Rob Marino of the College of Central Florida. At 3:15 p.m. Thursday, the Scholastic Division will present with the Community Journalism Interest Group a discussion titled “Developing Journalism Education in China.”

On Friday Aug. 9 at 8:15 a.m., the division will be a co-host for the annual Breakfast of Champions Editing session. The other host is the Newspaper and Online Division. This is a highly popular event that usually draws a standing-room only crowd.

At lunchtime on Friday, the Scholastic Division and the Minorities and Communication Division will host the Robert P. Knight Multicultural Annual Award Luncheon at Hill Country Barbecue, 410 Seventh Street N.W.

The divisional meeting will be held on Friday at 6:45 p.m., followed by the Honors Lecture. This year’s lecturer is Professor Flowers of South Carolina.

The division’s refereed research paper sessions will be held on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 8:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.

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