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Student Press Freedom Bill Fails On House Floor

Rep. Ed Clere's (R-New Albany) bill would have prevented school officials from censoring student journalists' content or disciplining students because of what they produce.

A bill to provide some press freedoms to Indiana students failed to garner enough votes for passage on the House floor Monday.

Rep. Ed Clere’s (R-New Albany) bill would prevent school officials from censoring student journalists’ content or disciplining students because of what they produce. But Clere says the bill does not provide free reign to students.

“Everything that student journalists do is still subject to prior review by school officials,” Clere says.

And students wouldn’t be allowed to produce anything that could, for instance, incite other students to violence or disrupt school activities.

Still, Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero), a former superintendent, says the bill erodes school leaders’ authority.

“You will have mass chaos in some of your schools,” Cook says. “You’ll have more students fighting and pitting against each other.”

The House voted 47 to 45 for the bill. But legislation needs at least 51 votes to pass.

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