Law & Courts

Views on Speech by Students Clash

By Mark Walsh — January 21, 2009 1 min read

Two new books about the legal rights of students to express themselves bring fresh perspectives to an always vibrant area of the law. But the two volumes stake out distinctly different positions.

The first is Law of the Student Press, published late last year by the Student Press Law Center, the Arlington, Va., nonprofit group that often comes to the aid of student journalists and their faculty advisers.

In the third edition of this volume—the first update since 1994—the SPLC offers a handbook not only on issues specific to student publications, but also on other free-expression issues for young people. Topics include copyright, defamation, advertising and business concerns, and the rights of advisers.

“Student journalists can translate the language of their peers into words the larger society can understand,” says the book’s introduction.

One chapter is devoted to an area of the law that was much less developed when the book last came out—online media.

“Unfortunately, school administrators who view the Internet as somehow a completely different animal from earlier forms of media have often felt justified in inventing new grounds for restricting it,” the book says.

Anne Proffitt Dupre, a law professor at the University of Georgia, has a different take on student expression in a book published this month by Harvard University Press.

In Speaking Up: The Unintended Costs of Free Speech in Public Schools, Ms. Dupre subtly makes the argument that the trend toward greater student speech rights since the 1960s has come at a cost to the larger “liberty of a nation.”

“Time and time again we see a clash ... between the rights of individual students to speak in the face of the rights of other students to learn,” she writes. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1969 decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Community School District, which upheld the right of students to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War as long as school was not substantially disrupted, set forth a “legal regime that ... has more costs than are commonly recognized,” the author writes.

A version of this article appeared in the January 21, 2009 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts 'I Just Want to Play.' Judge Halts W. Va. Law Barring Transgender Girls From Girls' Sports
Ruling for an 11-year-old transgender girl, the judge holds that the law likely violates the equal-protection clause and Title IX.
3 min read
Image of a gavel.
Marilyn Nieves/E+
Law & Courts Praying Coach v. District That Suspended Him: What's Next in Fight Over Religious Expression
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit declined to reconsider an earlier panel ruling that sided with the school district.
4 min read
Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy, center in blue, kneels and prays after his team lost to Centralia in Bremerton, Wash., on Oct. 16, 2015. Kennedy, who was suspended for praying at midfield after games, has filed a discrimination complaint on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission according to The Liberty Institute, a Texas-based law firm representing the coach.
Joe Kennedy, center in blue, kneels and prays after a game in October 2015 when he was the assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Wash. In a long-running legal fight, Kennedy contends he has First Amendment free-speech and free-exercise-of-religion rights to express his Christian faith while on the job. The case is likely headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lindsey Wasso/The Seattle Times via AP
Law & Courts Appeals Court Again Backs Transgender Student, But on Narrower Grounds Amid Signs of Rift
A federal appeals panel removed a holding for student Drew Adams based on Title IX, perhaps to ward off a rehearing by the full court.
4 min read
Image of a gavel.
Marilyn Nieves/E+
Law & Courts Schools Will Get At Least $25 Million From Opioid Lawsuit
Lawyers are aiming to place significantly more money into the grant program as school districts' lawsuits against opioid companies continue.
3 min read
This June 17, 2019, photo shows 5-mg pills of Oxycodone.
This June 17, 2019, photo shows 5-mg pills of Oxycodone.
Keith Srakocic/AP