Freedom of the Press and School Newspapers

Lesson Duration

Author:  Office of the U.S. Courts – Educational Resources

In Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier the Court ruled that the First Amendment rights of student journalists are not violated when school officials prevent the publication of certain articles in the school newspaper. The First Amendment protects the freedom of the press. The Supreme Court of the United States has been highly critical of any attempt to impose a prior restraint on the press, i.e., prohibiting a paper from publishing a story. The Court has even made it harder for individuals to sue newspapers for libel and slander.Today, suits involving freedom of the press are still prevalent in the courts. Some prominent issues are: 1) What constitutes “the press” in an age when many people can create their own blog on the Internet? 2) Must reporters reveal their sources when ordered to by legal authorities?


  • Students will learn about the case of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier.
  • Students will learn about Freedom of the Press in public schools.
  • Students will develop and present arguments related to Hazelwood.
  • Students will understand the First Amendment protections of a Free Press.




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