The ACLU-NJ held its first annual Student Press Liberties Award competition for high school students this year. We received over 20 entries from students in eight schools. The competition was judged by David Halbfinger of The New York Times, Christopher King of the News 12 New Jersey and Sarah Kanter of the Herald News.
The criteria on which entries were judged included informational value, writing quality, courage in publication, impact, value as investigative reporting, and furtherance of interest in civil liberties. The winners were honored at the ACLU's Annual Meeting on June 2 and presented with an award certificate and a cash prize. Congratulations winners!
Kevin Boyle, Editor
West Orange High School
"A Centerspread About Censorship"
This submission was a centerspread that included three articles relating to censorship: "Yo Mama's Last Hope" by Esther Mittelman about the debate over Mayor Guiliani's desire to appoint a "decency squad" to determine whether works of art are suitable for display in city-funded museums, "Fine Lines Crossed" by Kevin Boyle about censorship of student newspapers, and "Bess Can't Go There" by Artie Mandel, Dan Martin and Andrew Kantor about the use of Internet filtering software.
Bridgeton High School
"What's Up With That — Yo Mama's Last Supper"
In this column Kate Sheppard discussed the censorship of a photograph of The Last Supper on display at the Brooklyn Museum of Art that Mayor Guiliani sought to censor.
West Essex Junior High School
"Just Call Me Anonymous"
Jaclyn Paris, a 9th grader, wrote a story about students' right to free speech both in the context of school publications and general political expression. Paris also discussed the tendency of students to seek anonymity when expressing opinions about teachers or school policies that might be controversial and discussed what kind of consequences students might experience for expressing their opinions at school.
Congratulations to all our 2001 Student Press Liberties Award winners!