Takedown requests: when the right to preserve history conflicts with the desire to forget it
A version this blog was originally published on sprc.org on Sept. 20, 2017.
As more student newspapers move to digital platforms, editors and advisers are facing a new and insidious form of post-publication censorship: takedown requests.
The requests usually go something like this: “I was a student at [fill in name] high school [fill in number] years ago, and I was interviewed/wrote a story/was in a photo/made a comment that I regret now. I don’t want this showing up in Google searches. Please remove this story from your site.”
This hypothetical student may not know it, but her request is part of a much larger conversation about honoring individual privacy versus preserving the historical record.
When hatred speaks, we must speak back: Exploring the First Amendment on Constitution Day
A version of this blog was originally published on jeasprc.org Sept. 11, 2017.
In 2004, Senator Robert Byrd attached an amendment to a federal spending bill to create a new national observance: Constitution Day. This amendment required public schools and government offices “to provide educational programs to promote a better understanding of the Constitution.”
“I hope that kids understand that in this country, everything that we do in everyday life is touched upon by the Constitution of the United States," he said in an interview. "It protects our liberties and it protects our freedom of speech. It protects our religion. It protects the freedom of speech so the newspapers can tell us the news every day."
As a member of the Scholastic Press Rights Committee, it is especially important to me that students explore the First Amendment on Constitution Day, a critically important conversation to have in the face of today’s political climate and the rise of hate speech.
“And though she be but little, she is fierce!” -A Midsummer Night’s Dream