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7 Things You Should Know About Free Speech in Schools: Free Speech Rules (Episode 1)

We are not passing this by and neither should you.

Watch the first episode of Free Speech Rules, a new video series on free speech and the law that’s written by Eugene Volokh, the Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA, and the co-founder of the Volokh Conspiracy, which is hosted at Reason.com.

Watch the first episode of Free Speech Rules, a new video series on free speech and the law. The first episode looks at the seven things you should know about how the First Amendment is applied in schools, from black armbands to ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus.’

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Watch the first episode of Free Speech Rules, a new video series on free speech and the law that’s written by Eugene Volokh, the Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA, and the co-founder of the Volokh Conspiracy, which is hosted at Reason.com.

The first episode looks at the seven things you should know about how the First Amendment is applied in schools:

1) Political and religious speech is mostly protected.
Students, from first grade to twelfth, can’t be punished based on their political or religious speech. As the Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District: “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gates.”

2) Disruptive speech is not protected.
Schools can punish speech that “materially disrupts schoolwork”—for instance, because it prompts fights. 3) Vulgar or sexual speech is not protected. Schools can also punish students for using vulgarities or sexual innuendos.

4) Praising drugs is not protected.
Schools can punish speech that seems to praise drug use, and probably also alcohol use and other crimes, at least when the speech doesn’t seem political.

5) Official school newspapers are the school’s own speech.
Courts see the newspaper as the school’s own speech, even if students are the ones who write it.

6) This only applies to public schools.
Under the so-called “state action doctrine,” the First Amendment doesn’t limit private schools, even those that get tax breaks or government funds.

7) California is different.

Some states, like California, have passed laws that provide more protection to students. Written by Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment law professor at UCLA. Produced and edited by Austin Bragg, who is not.

This is not legal advice.
If this were legal advice, it would be followed by a bill.
Please use responsibly.

One Response to “7 Things You Should Know About Free Speech in Schools: Free Speech Rules (Episode 1)”

  1. […] Last week we posted a video called “7 Things You Should Know About Free Speech in Schools: Free Speech Rules (Episode 1)” […]

  2. Josephine says:

    I just watched the video on students free speech. Pretty interesting. It seems to indicate that students can talk about politics; like a city’s ordinance that is going to allow a Federal Law’s local enforcement penalty to be relaxed.

    Seems like the intent of the city ordnance coming up for second reading would be to avoid a life-time criminal record.

    Meanwhile, the Federal government has already shown leniency and released those type of criminal persons; it seems that the law is still the law but WOW the city might become known as a ‘sanction’ city. One would think that this city could just come up with a resolution/ memorandum of understanding to their local law enforcement officers to implement their prerogative under a local policy statement.

    Local students are most likely chatting about these future changes.

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