Free speech in school

Student banner going to the Supreme Court

What a vital case this will turn out to be. In 2002, an 18-year-old high school senior created and displayed the above banner at a public, non-school related event and was suspended for it. From the linked article:

"At stake is the 1969 landmark ruling Tinker v. Des Moines, which said that students do not 'shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.'

Since then, the Court has narrowed that ruling, giving schools the right to censor speech to maintain order and protect students from harmful messages."

I agree that the function of a school is to provide an unobtrusive learning environment for students and that, in some situations, it is justified for speech to be limited when it could interfere with that purpose. This is no such case. The principal here totally overstepped his bounds, punishing a student because of his ideas and not because the student was in any way impeding upon a learning environment.

For the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the school would be a disturbing setback for free expression in general - not merely within the classroom. It seems that this case hinges on the opinion of one man, Justice Kennedy, whose swing vote may be the decising factor.

1 comment:

Michael Corcoran said...

This photo will look nicely as a new desktop background on my computer.

They look so happy out there.