Hawaii has become the 16th state to pass legislation that ensures more First Amendment protections to high school and college journalists after Gov. David Ige on Monday signed the Hawaii Student Journalism Protection Act.

The law allows students attending public schools and the University of Hawaii to exercise freedom of speech in school-sponsored newspapers. It also protects advisers from being dismissed, suspended, disciplined or retaliated against for allowing students to practice their rights.

“I do recognize that student journalists have an important role to play in the high school community but more importantly in the community at large,” Ige said at a news conference held at McKinley High.

Ige and House Speaker Scott Saiki, who introduced the bill this year, recognized the student journalists and adviser at McKinley High’s newspaper, The Pinion, for advocating for this legislation. Cindy Reves and her students have been pushing for this measure since 2019.

The movement to protect student journalists is a part of the “New Voices Movement,” a student-led grassroots effort that aims to shield student journalists from censorship and advisers from consequences.

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