CFOG announces its 2015 High School Essay Contest

CONTACT: Mary Connolly
cfogessay@aol.com
Jan. 13, 2015

The Connecticut Foundation for Open Government announces its 2015 High School Essay Contest.

Each year, high school students from across Connecticut compete for prizes that include $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place, $300 for third place and numerous $50 honorable mention prizes.

CFOG is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to promoting open and accountable government. “We sponsor this contest to encourage thought and debate among students on public and freedom of information issues so important to our open democracy,” said Mary Connolly, CFOG Essay Contest Chair.

Details of the contest have been sent to high schools in Connecticut. The information also is available on CFOG’s website, www.ctfog.org. Essays must be at least 400 words but no more than 600 words. The deadline for entries is March 31, 2015. Winners will be announced by May 15, 2015. Contest entries should be emailed to cfogessay@aol.com.

Students have the choice of answering one of three questions:

The 2015 contest essay topics are:

1. Police departments are increasingly using recording devices to document their activity. Should police officers have discretion in recording events? Should every contact a police officer has with the public be captured by a body camera? Should the public have access to this video?

2. Are online threats of violence, such as wild rantings against an individual on Facebook, protected free speech under the First Amendment? Or are such threats crimes that should be prosecuted?

3. To catch a suspect believed responsible for high school bomb threats in Seattle, the FBI created a fake Associated Press story and an FBI agent posed as an AP reporter. Media organizations say this tactic undermines their credibility with the public and their ability to serve as a government watchdog. Should the FBI use such tactics?

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