Your Questions, Answered
Can a school censor a student's threatening speech?
In the wake of the recent school shooting, I’ve seen some disturbing posts from a classmate. He keeps talking about how “those kids probably deserved it” and that the shooter “had the right idea.” He claims that he’s just joking and it’s free speech anyway. But I’m not the only one feeling scared about the things he saying. Can the school do anything about it?See our response
How do I get a copyright? Do I have to register with the U.S. Copyright Office?
How do I get a copyright? Do I have to register with the U.S. Copyright Office?See our response
I want to file a FOIA request, but I don't know how. Any advice?
So, you want to access public information and plan to use a FOIA request to get what you’re looking for, but don’t know all the requirements.See our response
How do I know if my school's newspaper is a limited public forum?
If your school's paper is a limited public forum, your principal may not be able to censor what is published in the paper. We've got a list of factors to help you figure if your school's newspaper as a limited public forum.See our response
I was told I couldn't publish my article in our school's newspaper because the principal thought it would be embarrassing. Can she do that?
I wrote a really good article for my school newspaper about football players getting injured. I reported that many players got concussions and that some coaches would put guys back in the game even though it was suspected they might have gotten injured on an earlier play. I got quotes from players and quotes from coaches who defended themselves, plus I interviewed doctors. Just before the newspaper came out, the principal said the article couldn’t be published. Can he do that? Isn’t it my First Amendment right to expose bad information even if it is embarrassing?See our response
Is using a transgender student's preferred name instead of her given name in a school publication an invasion of privacy?
A student at my school recently announced that he is transgender and wishes to be called “Allen” rather than his given name, “April.” I interviewed him for an article for our school newspaper about the school’s theater club and up-coming school play, using the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘his,’ and Allen’s preferred name. My advisor and other writers on the paper are worried about publishing the article with Allen’s preferred name rather than his given name. Should they be worried? Is there a privacy issue here?See our response
Can my school punish students for posting racist stuff online?
After my school won a basketball game against our rival, another student from my school tweeted:
"lol ni**ers think they r sooo good at basketball but should prob go back to picking cotton after that loss!!!"
A lot of students are upset and angry with that tweet and reported it to the principal, but they aren’t doing anything about it! It doesn’t seem fair that he can say racist stuff like that. Isn’t there anything the school can do about this? Other kids at school have gotten in trouble for social media, so why aren’t they punishing him for the racist tweet?See our response
Can I get in trouble for making fun of someone or saying mean things about them online?
Libel is a word used to describe written defamatory speech. Defamatory speech harms a person’s reputation, their social connections with family, friends, or employers, or their ability to work or make a living.See our response
Can I use images from Google without getting in trouble for copyright infringement?
I want to use a pic of Kanye I found on Google for my article in the school newspaper. The article isn’t about Kanye, but about T-Swift and her feuds with other celebs. My teacher thinks this might be copyright infringement. Can I use the pic?
See our response
When will I get a response to my FOIA request?
A few days ago I mailed a FOIA request to an agency requesting some copies of documents. How long do you have to wait for a response?See our response