EFF Guides Student Bloggers

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Some schools have had difficulty getting a grip on the free-wheeling blogosphere, and have punished students for blogging negatively about their learning institutions.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation published a FAQ for students as part of their Legal Guide to Blogging. They’ve focused on middle and high school students with this FAQ, but the information could be of benefit to college students as well.

Much of the student guide clarifies misconceptions about First Amendment protection of free speech and blogging. While First Amendment protection extends to public school students, freedom of expression can’t be disruptive to classwork or other student, and schools can punish that behavior.

Private school students have protection from federal government censorship, the EFF noted, but not from censorship imposed by the school. Some states have laws that make additional protection for private school students available, though.

For public school students, the protection of personal blogs appears to be a mixed bag, depending on the case. One personal blog that criticized teachers and administrators of a school was found to be disruptive by the court because a classmate visited it from a school computer.

There area number of legal pitfalls that can arise from blogging. Defamation and publication of private facts are just two of them. People of any age who want to blog or are blogging now should spend a few minutes reading the EFF’s Guide.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

EFF Guides Student Bloggers
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