WEST CHESTER (January 30, 2018) – State Senator Andy Dinniman recently met with student journalists from the Conestoga Spoke, the student newspaper of Conestoga High School, to discuss legislation to ensure the rights of a free student press.

Dinniman met with Conestoga students, Justin Huang, Avery Maslowsky and Audrey Kim, and their staff advisor, Cyndi Hyatt, as part of the New Voices Campaign, a student-powered grassroots movement to give young people the legally protected right to gather information and share ideas about issues of public concern.

The New Voices Campaign is a project of the Student Press Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy organization for the rights of student journalists.

Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said he will work to draft legislation to ensure protections for student journalists in public secondary schools and institutes of higher education.

“Free speech begins with young people learning to express themselves and think critically about the issues of the day,” Dinniman said. “We should encourage students to embrace the values of responsible journalism while allowing them to report without fear of retaliation or censorship.”

So far, several states, including Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, North Dakota, and Vermont, have passed some form of legislation to guarantee and protect free speech rights for student journalists in public high schools and colleges.