Adviser Update Adviser Update Winter 2018 | Page 30

Recognition for Schools that Respec By John Bowen and Candace Perkins Bowen PRE S S R I GHT S M I N U T E N ew Year’s resolutions almost always fail, so let’s not call it that. Instead, let’s just decide, starting in 2018, we’ll do a bit more in each issue or broadcast or post to support the First Amendment. John Bowen John Bowen, MJE, is an adjunct professor at Kent State, chair of Journalism Education Association (JEA) Scholastic Press Rights Commitee and former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. Bowen has been a member of the SPLC Board of Directors and convener of the SPLC Advisory Council and a high school journalism teacher and adviser. Motivation for this idea came from the recent selection process for the First Amendment Press Freedom Award, an annual honor from the Journalism Education Association, National Scholastic Press Association and Quill and Scroll International Honor Society. As the JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee’s blog explained shortly before the Dec. 15 deadline, “This First Amendment Press Freedom Award recognizes high schools that actively support, teach and protect First Amendment rights and responsibilities of students and teachers. The recognition focuses on student-run media where students make all final decisions of content without prior review.” Each year, a committee with members representing those organizations pours over the first -round applications. One nomination must come from an adviser or administrator and one from a student. Schools that pass the first round go to a second round, requiring more thorough answers and also answers from all media advisers and editors/station managers at that school. That’s a lot to pull together, and the number of schools that realize the value of this designation has fluctuated over the years. The original award—Let Freedom Ring: America’s First Amendment High Schools Award—was sponsored by The Freedom Forum in the early years. From a charter group of nine schools to only one recipient in 2005, the award needed new focus, which it got in 2006, when the three current organizations took over selection and promotion. Since then, the number of applications and winners has grown steadily. Last year, 12 schools were honored, the most ever. Some have been perennial recipients—Kirkwood High School (Missouri) has won 16 times with Mountlake Terrace High School (Washington) and Francis Howell North High School (also Missouri) both close to double digit wins. Others, too, are starting to make it an annual tradition. Newer to the list are two private schools, both with advisers who convinced administrators that even though they didn’t have to give their students First Amendment rights, they should… and now do. Both The Archer School for Girls, in Los Angeles, and Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, in San Francisco, have been FAPFA schools for the last two years. Even previous winners must resubmit applications every year because sometimes a change in administrators can destroy a good relationship with student media. Some questions on the first- round applications have pretty obvious answers: • Does your school actively protect First Amendment rights, including artistic expression by students and faculty? • Does your school promote and support teaching of the First Amendment through classroom instruction and activities? • Does your journalism curriculum include instruction in press law and