Plymouth student voices support for Sen. Colbeck’s work to advance press freedom in schools

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Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, welcomed testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday from Plymouth-Canton Educational Park student Chris Robbins.

Robbins spoke on Senate Bill 848, which addresses press freedom for student journalists.

SB 848, known as the Student Free Press and Civics Readiness Act, is co-sponsored by Colbeck and would allow students greater decision-making power in determining which articles are published and disseminated, provided the articles don’t violate federal or state laws, are libelous or slanderous, or incite danger.

“I would like to thank Chris Robbins and other student journalists, who are exercising their freedoms of speech and of the press while honing their journalism skills on behalf of our communities,” Colbeck said. “Student journalists across the state face barriers in their ability to exercise responsibility for determining the news, opinion, feature, and advertising content of school-sponsored media, and this bill would give them more freedom to make these decisions.”

Robbins stated he has learned a lot about his community by serving as a student journalist under the exceptional tutelage of his journalism teacher, Ms. Leola Gee, and that freedom of expression is essential for allowing a student to best engage in the journalism process.

“Making coverage decisions, being a part of a team that works together and learning how to be an effective writer are crucial experiences that are best learned in a newspaper setting where students control the content,” Robbins said.

SB 848 was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been referred to the full Senate, where it awaits further consideration.

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