CAPE FLATERRY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Student Free Speech
A Battle Between Students and Their Schools
Brady J. McKay
Schools all over are taking away one our most important rights. Free speech. Almost every day a little bit more of our first amendment rights are diminishing. Most students don’t realize this because
they don’t think the First Amendment applies to students even though the Constitution states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition for a redress of grievances.”
As you can see the first amendment states “the right of people…” which as students we are.
Our first amendment rights should not vary with the new social media. In the court case of J.S. V. Blue Mountain school district, J.S. created a fake MySpace page about her principal saying that he hits on students in his office and is a sex offender, on an off campus computer, but was still punished for her actions when the school found out. This violated her free speech rights by punishing her for an action that was committed off school campus and did not cause a material disturbance. This is just one of the many court cases that involve student free speech. Almost all of them have the same outcome though, and that is that students should have free speech and should not have such limited power. In one such court case a student free speech defender said: “Students do not shed their First Amendment rights at
the school house gates” ( Student Free Speech Supporter)
This should be true, but, sadly, it is not. Even though half the time the court agrees with the students and their parents who are suing the school. “Administrators have a greater power to limit student free
speech” (School Staff)
Most of the time schools support their punishment by saying that it is affecting the common good’s learning. However, how are we supposed to learn how to voice our opinions when we are older if we are living under the rule of no free speech? If you take away our free speech then we won’t learn to
our full potential. If we don’t learn to our full potential we won’t be successful. If we’re not successful
then most likely we will end up homeless, with no income or pay of any sort. So free speech has a huge effect on our lives. Now you are probably thinking that if students get free speech, then the common good will most likely have a harder chance at learning, but, even though the common good’s rights do
overpower the individuals rights, they should not be that overpowered. It should be like checks and balances.
All of this proves that students free speech is being too limited. The less free speech the less education the child will get. Now, I am not saying that students should have completely unlimited speech but, it still should not be as limited. So help us prove that schools are wrong and give students the rights they deserve.
Student Free Speech
I sent a poll around to see who believes free speech is right for students. Out of the 10 students in my class 10 agreed that free speech was right for students and none said it wasn’t.
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