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Guide for Student Bloggers Helps Kids Speak Out

November 18, 2005

Guide for Student Bloggers Helps Kids Speak Out

Legal Blogging Tips from EFF

San Francisco - Millions of students across the country are speaking their minds in Internet blogs, and some kids are getting punished for it despite their right to free expression. School administrators in one New Jersey district disciplined a student for his website that was critical of the school. The student eventually received a settlement of $117,500 for the violation of his First Amendment rights, but not before he was suspended for a week and barred from going on his class trip.

Just what are students allowed to publish about their school, their teachers, and their classmates? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a guide to student blogging Friday to help kids learn about their rights and how to defend them. These are important issues for millions of students: a study this month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project says approximately 4 million teens keep a blog.

"Teens are blogging everyday, reaching an audience of millions," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "With this legal guide, students will have the tools they need to blog legally, and understand how to defend their rights."

The guide to student blogging addresses the different rules for personal blogs and school blogs, for both public and private school students. It also gives advice on how to speak freely about school and discuss controversial issues.

"Students can and should talk about what's important to them in their blogs," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "That is naturally going to include their school life, and perhaps even topics that make some adults uncomfortable. Students should know their First Amendment rights, so that they can continue to have honest discussions about their lives."

For the guide to student blogging:
http://www.eff.org/bloggers/lg/faq-students.php

Contacts:

Kevin Bankston
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
bankston@eff.org

Kurt Opsahl
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
kurt@eff.org

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