Each year CFOG sponsors an essay contest each year to encourage thought and debate among students on public and freedom of information issues and to increase student knowledge of the value of open government in a democratic society. First prize receives $1,000, second place gets $500 and third place receives $300. Honorable mentions are awarded $50.
This year’s topics to select from are:
1. Should students be required to give school administrators access to their social media accounts to investigate problems of bullying or the violation of school policies? Does the First Amendment protect students from this?
2. Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act allows access to the emails of government officials so the public can scrutinize the conduct of public business. Some officials use personal email accounts rather than their government email accounts to avoid this public scrutiny. Should this be allowed?
3. In response to the 2012 Newtown school shootings, Connecticut has been debating whether 911 calls and crime-scene photos from the Newtown case as well as future police crime scenes should be made public. Should they be made public?
Essays must be at least 400 words but no more than 600 words and emailed no later than March 31, 2014, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Essays should include the student’s full name, school, grade and teacher contact information. Winners will be announced by May 15, 2014.