State Senate passes bill protecting students’ free speech

Washington Senate approves revisions to police use of force initiative

A bill to protecting high school and college students’ rights to publish and speak freely in school-sponsored media has passed the Washington Senate.

Senate Bill 5064, which also passed the Senate last year, passed on a 43-5 vote Friday and now heads to the House, where it did not gain traction last year.

Under the measure, student editors would be fully responsible for determining what goes into their publication or broadcast. School administrators would not be allowed to censor or review any content before publishing unless it contains libelous or slanderous material, or is obscene or incites students to commit unlawful acts on school grounds.

The bill would exempt school officials from any civil or criminal liability resulting from school-sponsored media. It also ensures a student media adviser cannot be terminated, transferred or otherwise disciplined for not censoring students’ speech.