Monday, June 21, 2010

Making law fun?

Law and funny, who’d a thunk it? The Executive Director for Student Press Law Center, Frank LoMonte sure showed me that the two could go together.

I am lucky enough to have access to Logan Aimone, from National Scholastic Press Association. Logan has come to my school the past two years in a row and given my students a press law primer. The kids are always enthralled, and when Logan leaves they have an indignant air about them, as if to say, “Go ahead challenge my First Amendment Rights.” But the tone is always somber, and I always feel like there is a right or wrong, and if I step over the wrong line I will be eliminated.

But LoMonte put an all new spin on things fro me. First of all, he made me laugh, and laugh hard, at things that shouldn’t be funny. Putting a finger-gun up to Tracy Ward’s head to demonstrate school district’s retaliation techniques, made me wish I’d had my camera ready.

Maybe it’s because the focus of my institute story is all about ethics, but that’s all I could hear today as he spoke about helping kids make tough choices about publishing. Yeah, it may be within our rights to publish a story, but is it in the best interest of the subject? That will be my take-away from this session.

Michelle Evenson
Eden Prairie High School
Minneapolis, Minn.
Above: Frank D. LoMonte, Esq. Student Press Law Center's Executive Director had the room rolling with his jokes, laughter and general geniality.


  1. I too found LoMonte to be an engaging speaker--definitely NOT a stuffy lawyer. I am really glad he's on OUR side, and not working for the School Boards Association!

    He made a good point about trying to co-opt the administration by saying little things like "we" even when "pushing back" against censorious behavior.

    The bit about football being 400 times more dangerous than journalism is one I'm definitely going to use!

    Zach Anderson
    Indian River HS - Philadelphia, NY

  2. I'll be honest, when I saw that we had three hours of student press law today I was a little worried about how I would handle it on a Monday morning, but I truly enjoyed LoMonte and could have had a whole day of in-depth discussions. What an engaging speaker and what great lessons we can use with our students.

    Laura Schwinn
    Emporia High School
    Emporia, Kan.