Oct. 16, 2023

Our past three editions

Oct. 9, 2023 Campus safety • Climate change • Coffee in Britain

Oct. 2, 2023 COVID-19 vaccines • Target closures • Mental health

Sept. 25, 2023 COVID • Wildfire smoke • Bob Ross



Legal battle brews in Montana over TikTok ban

Localize what is happening in your state

A federal judge in Montana has criticized the state law banning TikTok from all personal devices in a hearing Oct. 12. Montana legislators passed the law last May, which was challenged by TikTok and several of its content creators. 

Montana is not the only state in which TikTok restrictions have been passed. At least 32 states and the U.S. government, according to the New York Times, have banned TikTok on official devices. 

What you can do —

Look at what is happening in your state. What are the current rulings and how does that impact students? If your state is not on the list, what is happening in your state concerning this issue?

Also, one of the reasons given for banning TikTok involves the data collected and its safety in the Chinese government’s hands. Talk to a social media expert concerning what data gets collected and what that means for the user. Why should students care about what is being collected about them?  


Antisemitism on the rise

Report on how teens can question social media feeds

Antisemitism is on the rise according to the Anti-Defamation League’s 2022 report. According to the ADL report, 494 incidents were reported in K12 schools in the United States, which is a 49% increase from the previous year. This column in the Washington Post by Petula Dvorak also addresses the issue.

What you can do —

The United States Holocaust Museum has put together two videos concerning “What is Antisemitism” and “Antisemitism Throughout Time.” 

The first of the two videos highlight how antisemitism exists in daily life and that it doesn’t always sound like hate — it might sound complementary and lead to biases and hatred of groups. 

A great option would be to cover how some students may be bombarded with propaganda in their social media use. It would be a great time to interview a social media expert on how hate groups are infiltrating these platforms and how students can learn to question and protect themselves from these harmful messages. 

Is legislation being proposed in your state concerning protecting minors from these messages?

What’s viral

Book banned based on author’s last name

What is the protocol in your school, community?

It seems now author’s last names can get a book banned. In Alabama, a children’s picture book was labeled as “sexually explicit” because the author’s last name — Gay. Interestingly enough, the picture book titled “Read me a Story, Stella,” by Marie-Louis Gay, is about Stella, who teaches her younger brother about the joy of reading.

What you can do —

Book banning memes and content seems to be appearing regularly on social media. What is the current status of book banning in your community? What is the procedure if a book or magazine or other item is challenged? Who makes the decision?


It’s always membership season

Don’t forget you can nominate members year round

Our fall order season has begun. Don’t be left out in the cold. Nominate students for membership order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia.

We haven’t changed the ordering process from last year. For those wanting to ditch the paper version, you just need to select the form based on how you would like to pay. We have one version for credit card and another version for check or purchase order. (We’ve added buttons for ease of finding these.) As usual, credit card payments are charged $4.49 per order for processing. 

> Start the process here.

NSPA, SPLC offers first Pacemaker Master Class on AI

NSPA is excited to announce the first NSPA Pacemaker Master Class to boost your staff training plans.

In conjunction with the Student Press Law Center, we’re offering a free workshop “Artificial intelligence: Legal and ethical risks.” If you’re aware of students beyond journalism who could benefit, please let them know about this workshop. 

The workshop will be at 7 p.m. ET Oct. 24. Registration is per school per workshop. When you register, you can include questions you would like answered as well as take advantage of the live interaction. You will be able to use the session recording for 30 days.

Let’s get ready for the year ahead.

Sign up now.

Here’s the official workshop description:

What ethical and legal risks should you know about as you use — or think about using — artificial intelligence in your newsroom? Whether you’re generating text or images or even cloning voices, join us to unpack the questions you should be asking to protect yourself. We’ll explore what

Plan for upcoming awards

Yes, we just finished getting in our Yearbook Excellence Contest entries and it’s time to start the process for our Writing, Photo and Multimedia Awards. This contest will be available starting mid-to-late November and all entries and payments will be due Feb. 2.

So, start thinking about what you want to enter. We will publish the categories on our website in the next month.

Just a thought

I grew up on books that involved phrases such as “if you open the door, go to page 34, if you don’t, go to page 89.”

I credit much of my love for reading to these Choose Your Own Adventure books. I would often make the wrong decision and be eaten by a giant monster. 

Much like my reading decisions, many of you ask me: “I understand Quill and Scroll is an international honor society, but what do you do with it?”

It’s a great question. As we state, we allow students and advisers to “choose their own adventure” as a chapter. We have some very active chapters and others that are only used as a way to honor students. We don’t judge. 

However, for those looking to have a more active chapter this year, I’m trying to make it easier for you. When I advised, our Quill and Scroll chapter met monthly. The day before I asked our Quill and Scroll leadership what they wanted to do. (My job was to bring the donuts.)

The students set a goal of having a project each semester. This varied from a campaign on media literacy to volunteering somewhere or to a Constitution Day or Scholastic Journalism Week activity. Sometimes they used the meeting time to plan and other times we talked about some aspect of journalism. Many of these topics and ideas — as well as some additional ones — are in our activities area.

As you and your students choose your own adventure  — and I’m kind of begging here — send me an email and let me know what you’re doing and send photos. I would love to highlight these on our site.

— Lori Keekley