LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday designed to protect the free-speech rights of student journalists in public high schools while holding them directly accountable for stories that are libelous.
The bill won first-round approval on a 27-5 vote.
Sen. Adam Morfeld, of Lincoln, introduced the measure last year to prevent high school administrators from censoring articles they dislike. It would also prevent administrators from faculty advisers who defend a student’s right to publish.
The bill also makes clear that school districts can’t be held liable for articles written by students. But students who write a libelous article could be sued.
Morfeld said the bill will help students learn important, real-world lessons about journalism ethics and media law and allow them to discuss controversial issues without being silenced.
Opponents questioned the need for the bill.