Thursday, February 28, 2008

High school paper returns after lawsuit

Novato High School has a student newspaper again seven years after a student's opinion piece on illegal immigration caused administrators to confiscate the paper, sparking a First Amendment lawsuit that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The student, Andrew Smith, sued the district for infringing on his free speech rights and won. The school district fought him in state and federal courts for several years, but last week the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a lower court ruling in favor of Smith, which ended the case. Smith was represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, which called it a "precedent-setting victory against any attempt to impose ‘politically correct’ thought codes on student journalists in California.”

As the case moved through the courts, the student newspaper collapsed. But now the school's journalism club has brought it back to life, according to a report in the weekly Novato Advance. The club printed its first issue earlier this year and is working on a second one. Journalism club adviser Deborah Thompson called the first edition "lighthearted," a departure from the issue following 9/11 which was confiscated by school officials.

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