By Mira Soni
A new bill signed into law in late May by Vermont Governor Phil Scott will provide student journalists increased protection against administrative retaliation when they report on contentious political issues.
The bill, which passed the Vermont Senate unanimously in February, only recently made it through the House education and judiciary committees. High school students from Woodstock Union, Burlington High, and Bellows Free Academy-St. Albans, as well as college students from the University of Vermont, testified in favor of the bill. The students spoke of resistance they faced when attempting to write about varying politicized issues, from Black Lives Matter rallies held near the schools to the issue of handicap accessibility in school buildings.
Adam Silverman, President of the Vermont Press Association, said the new law gives student journalists the same free speech protections in their writing that they possess in their t-shirts, flyers and armbands.
In a meeting with a group of student journalists for the ceremonial signing on May 25th, Governor Scott praised their hard work and dedication.
“Having the press be able to tell the stories without being victimized is important in keeping politicians honest. I thank you for your efforts. I look forward to your futures.”
New state law protects First Amendment rights (Stowe Reporter)