Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB5902
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Full Text of HB5902  99th General Assembly




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1    AN ACT concerning education.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Speech
5Rights of Student Journalists Act.
6    Section 5. Definitions. As used in this Act:
7    "School-sponsored media" means any material that is
8prepared, substantially written, published, or broadcast by a
9student journalist at a public school, distributed or generally
10made available to members of the student body, and prepared
11under the direction of a student media adviser.
12School-sponsored media does not include media intended for
13distribution or transmission solely in the classroom in which
14the media is produced.
15    "Student journalist" means a public high school student who
16gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records, or
17prepares information for dissemination in school-sponsored
19    "Student media adviser" means an individual employed,
20appointed, or designated by a school district to supervise or
21provide instruction relating to school-sponsored media.
22    Section 10. Free speech. Except as otherwise provided in



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1Section 15 of this Act, a student journalist has the right to
2exercise freedom of speech and of the press in school-sponsored
3media, regardless of whether the media is supported financially
4by the school district or by use of school facilities or
5produced in conjunction with a class in which the student is
6enrolled. Subject to Section 15 of this Act, the appropriate
7student journalist is responsible for determining the news,
8opinion, feature, and advertising content of school-sponsored
9media. This Section shall not be construed to prevent a student
10media adviser from teaching professional standards of English
11and journalism to student journalists. There shall be no prior
12restraint of material prepared for official school
13publications except insofar as it violates Section 15 of this
14Act. School officials shall have the burden of showing
15justification without undue delay prior to a limitation of
16student expression under this Section.
17    Section 15. Exceptions. This Act does not authorize or
18protect expression by a student journalist that:
19        (1) is libelous, slanderous, or obscene;
20        (2) constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
21        (3) violates federal or State law; or
22        (4) so incites students as to create a clear and
23    present danger of the commission of an unlawful act, the
24    violation of policies of the school district, or the
25    material and substantial disruption of the orderly



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1    operation of the school.
2    Section 20. Liability. No expression made by students in
3the exercise of freedom of speech or freedom of the press shall
4be deemed to be an expression of school policy, and no school
5district or employee or parent, legal guardian, or official of
6the school district shall be held liable in any civil or
7criminal action for any expression made or published by
9    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
10becoming law.