Hot Topics - Free Speech In Schools

HOT TOPICS–FREE SPEECH IN SCHOOLS

You Have the Right Not to Remain Silent
One of our most cherished freedoms is the freedom of speech. This freedom is conferred to us by the First Amendment, which prohibits Congress from making laws abridging the freedom of speech. This right extends beyond mere oral speech and encompasses the various means of self-expression.

For example:

  • Distributing Handbills or Pamphlets.
  • Carrying Placards, Signs or Banners.
  • Advertising on Billboards or Yellow Pages.
  • Printing Books or Newspapers.
  • Singing, Dancing or Playing an Instrument.
However, these rights are not limited to the so-called "real world." Free speech issues come up daily on public schools across the nation.

Exercises

  1. What is the purpose of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment?
  2. Does the Free Speech Clause protect the public's right of expression against interference by:
    • the federal government?

    • the state and local government?

    • private citizens (e.g., a homeowner's association)?

  3. Does the First Amendment protect private school students from censorship by the school administration?



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