About this Series
Explore the world of media with the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association’s “A Better Press for a Better World” webinar series. We invite middle and high school students to learn directly from professional journalists and others in the media industry during our weekly online program.
“A Better Press for a Better World” is the official motto of MIPA. It was first proclaimed during the organization’s first “High School Editors Conference,” a gathering of 100 editors and advisers in May 1922.
Archives of our sessions are available as an audio podcast or via video.
In 1983, the principal of Hazelwood East High School outside St. Louis, Missouri, censored the student newspaper. The paper included a special teen issue section with articles on teen pregnancy and the impact of divorce on students.
Members of the student staff sued.
The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which held in 1988 that a high school-sponsored newspaper produced as part of a class and without a “policy or practice” establishing it as a public forum for student expression could be censored.if school officials demonstrate a reasonable educational justification and where their censorship was viewpoint neutral.
Hazelwood remains one of the most influential student speech cases, expanding school control over student speech from previous precedent. Join out Q&A about the Hazelwood case with Cathy Kuhlmeier Frey, about her experience as a student journalist and student expression advocate.
Cathy Kuhlmeier Frey
Cathy Kuhlmeier Frey was one of three students involved in the 1988 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier.
The case involved censorship of articles in The Spectrum, the student newspaper of Hazelwood East High School in St. Louis, Missouri. The school principal removed articles concerning teen pregnancy and divorce because he felt individuals could be identified in the articles. The Supreme Court ruled against the students, allowing school administrators more authority to censored school-sponsored newspapers.
Kuhlmeier, 54, lives in Rogersville, Missouri, a small community in southwest Missouri. She works for a large insurance company handling workers’ compensation. She has been married to Mike Frey for 16 years and is the mother to two biological adult children, Haley and Eric, and five stepchildren.
Kuhlmeier actively travels and speaks regarding her experiences with censorship. She has been an advocate speaking to state legislators across the country about the New Voices movement in hopes to pass laws to restore rights to student journalists lost in the Hazelwood case.
Moderated by Jeremy Steele, Michigan Interscholastic Press Association
Jeremy Steele is executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association and a specialist in the School of Journalism at Michigan State University, where he teaches various reporting courses. Steele is an award-winning journalist who has also worked for one of Michigan’s largest independent public relations firms.
Elizabeth Cyr, yearbook and newspaper adviser, Stockbridge High School
Elizabeth Cyr has found the secret to a happy life: helping young people unlock their potential. She’s been doing so at Stockbridge High School for two decades. Nothing makes her happier than helping students unleash their ideas through contemporary graphic design tools and strong journalism conventions. She coaches staffs on Uncaged News & Online and Panther yearbook. Her staffs have won numerous awards at the state and national levels including the MIPA Spartan, NSPA Pacemaker and CSPA Silver Crown. She was named the 2017 Golden Pen Adviser and earned the 2019 JEA Diversity Award. She also advises MIPA’s All-State Student Journalist Advisory Cohort, a statewide group of student journalists from member schools.