High school conduct agreements: Do they conflict with students’ speech rights?

  Almost every public and private high school has a code of conduct they require students to follow. Secondary schools also frequently require students participating in school-sponsored extracurricular activities to abide by additional agreements governing conduct and speech. These additional agreements frequently call upon participating students to serve as role models for others in the…

Guide to accessing Georgia court records and proceedings

The First Amendment Clinic has collaborated with the Georgia First Amendment Foundation to create a first-of-its-kind guide to accessing state and federal court records and proceedings in Georgia. Referred to as the “Yellow Book,” the guide is organized by type of court and type of access. It uses a digestible question-and-answer format that allows readers…

New Voices Georgia – Protecting high school press freedoms

Norins, C; Harmon-Walker, T. and Tharani, N., Restoring Student Press Freedoms: Why Every State Needs a “New Voices” Law, 32 GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY CIVIL RIGHTS LAW JOURNAL 63 (2021). ***** High school journalists across the country have long provided news reporting, political and social commentary, and valuable perspective on issues of public concern to their…

Prior review & prior restraint in school-sponsored media

  What is prior restraint? Prior restraint is a type of censorship where speech or expression is stopped before it occurs. For example: A school administrator tells a student journalist that certain topics are off limits (before anything is even written) or that a certain article cannot be published. Learn more about prior restraint.  …

Open records and meetings in Georgia

Georgia has a strong public policy in favor of open government, which the state legislature recognizes to be essential to a free, open, and democratic society. Georgia’s Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act both reflect this policy, by codifying the presumption that public records should be made available for public inspection without delay and…

When government employees are not allowed to speak to the media

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are both abridged when government agencies prohibit their employees from speaking with the media on matters of public import. An unqualified ban on public employees granting media interviews, “especially when backed up by the threat of adverse personnel action, remains presumptively unconstitutional as a prior restraint on…

Citizens’ right to record the police

Under the First Amendment, citizens have the right to record the police performing their duties in public.  This right is essential to informing the public about police activity and holding government accountable for the actions of law enforcement. First Amendment Watch’s Citizen’s Guide to Recording Police On October 9, 2020, the Georgia First Amendment Foundation…