After multiple censorship attempts, school paper members launch Student Press Freedom Act campaign to ensure constitutional rights to free expression upheld
BY SARAH LAWRYNUIK, J Source
In April, the board of the Griffins’ Nest, Eric Hamber Secondary School’s student newspaper, penned an editorial criticizing the Vancouver School Board for failing to involve students and teachers in its decision-making processes.
However, right before publication, the masthead was informed by the vice-principal that the article would need the principal’s approval to be published — bringing the production of the paper to a halt. It wasn’t the first time that the Nest faced such pressure from the school — editors said the school had expressed concerns over the framing and angle of the editorials in all three issues during that school year alone.
With articles confronting several barriers during their production process, the editorial board notified the principal in June that it was initiating a campaign to propose legislation to prevent more undue interference.
The Student Press Freedom Act is designed to protect freedom of expression and freedom of the press in British Columbia public schools and aims to ensure student journalists’ constitutional rights are protected and consistent with their professional counterparts. The proposed legislation was drafted by EHSS students Spencer Izen and Jessica Kim and was reviewed by lawyer Susanna Allevato Quail of Vancouver-based firm Allevato Quail and Roy and media law expert and X University associate professor Lisa Taylor.