NCAC’s Student Advocates for Speech Leadership Program is the only one of its kind dedicated to creating high school-level student anti-censorship advocates. SAS students learn about and fight back against all forms of censorship that harm their ability to learn and engage in free inquiry and critical thinking.

The SAS Leadership Program will create, train, and connect a nationwide network of student leaders who will become front line advocates on free speech and censorship issues happening in their communities. NCAC will provide personalized advocacy skills and training to enable high schoolers to become their communities’ free speech leaders.

The SAS program builds off of NCAC’s expertise and resources – to help organize, educate, and organize the next generation of anti-censorship advocates. This includes access to key First Amendment and free expression experts, training in media strategy, advocacy tactics, best practices in the fight against book bans, and more. The program also offers opportunities to partner and advocate with another NCAC program: the Kids’ Right to Read Network (KRRN). KRRN is a national grassroots network of local community organizers who advocate at school board meetings and in the local community to support and defend the right to read. They speak at school board meetings and public library boards, and organize book drives to expand access to banned books and raise awareness about the harms of censorship. Involving students in their efforts enables the KRRN to work with directly affected students and enables young people to play a critical role in their communities.

Please visit the Student Advocates for Speech FAQ to learn more about our program.


SAS provides the next generation of leaders with tools to hone and promote the essential principles of free expression and to be lifelong advocates for free speech as both a fundamental human right and a keystone of democracy.

Watch our leaders in action.


The goals of SAS are to help students fight for their own free speech rights as well as the rights of others, including those they disagree with; and amplifying the voices of young people in democratic civic life.

Learn more about the SAS program.

Youth Advocates

NCAC will provide free speech education, advocacy training, guidance on activism to defend banned books, and opportunities for leadership on issues including student free press freedom and policy advocacy. Meet the Trainers.

SAS Leaders will meet monthly to discuss and learn how to promote the essential principles of free expression as they relate to contemporary issues.



SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund: Student Advocates for Speech

Watch Student Advocates for Speech at the SCBWI ILF 2024 Changemakers Special.

Student Leaders discuss banned books that have changed their lives and then engage in a lively conversation with award-winning author Lois Lowry. Don’t miss it!

Defending Student Press Freedom

A Conversation with High School Students to celebrate Student Free Press Day 2024

This virtual event featured student leaders from NCAC’s Student Advocates for Speech and Student Press Law Center’s New Voices programs! Students led a conversation about the value of student journalists and their role in shaping civic culture in their schools and communities in an election year.

Contest Winners Announced: How a Banned Book Changed My Life

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Impact and Legacy Fund have co-sponsored an essay contest for high school students!

A panel of judges selected Neve Bonura-Learnard (Newbury, Ma.) and Harsidak Singh (Arlington, Va.) who received a $250 credit for Kindle or Apple Books and read their essays during the 2023 SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund Children’s Book Changemakers virtual conference on June, 8 2023. Winners also interviewed (and were interviewed by) Ellen Hopkins, acclaimed banned author of “Crank.” Honorable Mention was awarded to Mariama Cisse (Dunwoody, GA) who received a $100 credit for Kindle or Apple Books.


The best part of the program so far this year was crafting our review of a banned book that impacts us. Being able to discuss and learn from successful and insightful authors was immensely beneficial and I really enjoyed being able to hear their takes. It was fun to make something about a book I really cared about.

I’ve enjoyed being able to form connections within the national side of the program…Using the skills and tools from NCAC, I have been able to further defend free speech in my county.

I think my favorite part was actually during the summer when we had just begun delving into various free speech cases.

There’s so many things I can do with SAS that I didn’t have before. A supportive backing is amazing.


Friends of SAS

Student Advocates for Speech is administered by the National Coalition Against Censorship’s Youth Free Expression Program. Please contact NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Coordinator Gianmarco Antosca at [email protected].

Your donation will help us foster the next generation of advocates.  Each dollar equals endless opportunities for our nation’s youth. Please contact NCAC’s Development Director  Josh Corday  [email protected] to  learn how you can lend
your support.