Study on Student First Amendment Rights Now vs. Pre-Social Media

Published: 2021/11/22
Number of words: 6485


The goal of the research was to find and examine the existing legal limits of public language as well as countenance rights, as established and characterized by state judges, so that educators can better make informed decision-making with respect to student affirmation and speech in the face of such circumstances. The study evaluated the discourse and expressions issued by federal court students from 1 January 1983 to 31 December 2008. In order to determine present lawful limits of learner speech and countenance in school, four Highest Court rulings and several lower Federal Judicial decisions were studied and analyzed. School leaders in each case stifled the expression and reprimanded the kids for the behaviour. Unlike innumerable prior conflicts involving learners and public school authorities over learner countenance the school authorities and even the municipal board have not dictated the outcomes of these instances. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the legitimacy of the two kinds of affirmation of students


The rulings of the Supreme Court were examined in the following terms Tinker v. Moines Indep. Sch. Dist. (1969; German); Bethel Sch. Dist. v. Fraser (1986); Hazelwood Sch (2007). That research then centered on the interpretation and use by the inferior federal courts of the Highest Court’s learner speech as well as expressions conclusions in particular situations and on the use by school leaders to take educated decisions on the liberties of speech and expression of students pursuant to the first amendment. The study stated that, through the Highest Court’s learner speech and philosophies of communication, certain concrete circumstances faced by school administrators and handled by federal courts have been defined by the present legitimate restrictions of learner speech and expression rights in institute. The research findings were consolidated into a reference table, which shows the range of possible studental discourse and expression factual situations, helps to identify how the learner speech and countenance precepts of the Highest Court can be implemented on specific sets of facts, and 2 offers instructors with a device for educated decisions on speech and expression (Bohannan, Christina 2233)

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The US High Court found that the protests on black bracelets were legal in Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Sch. Dist. (1969).. It was the Court’s judgment which had its first significant influence on student discourse in school and significantly altered students’ ability below the First Alteration to the United States Constitution to practice their speech or expression rights. 1 Judge Fortas wrote in Tinker, in a majority opinion: “Students or professors may hardly be accused to disregard their legal rights of free speech or expression (Tinker, p. 506). The judgment as well as this particular remark indicated that kids do not immediately give up all liberties merely by entering public school. The declaration also strengthened the final conclusion of the Tinker Court that the protests against black bracelets were protected in accordance with the First Amendment of the US Charter. Thirty-seven years after the Tinker case was forwarded by the Court, Chief Justice Roberts mentioned the commonly referred phrase by Justice Fortas in the most recent judgment on student expression. In Morse v. Frederick, the President of the Justice made the remark the basis of his preponderance decision (2007). Unlike the majority of Justice Fortas in Tinker, the majority of Robert Morse’s, Chief Justice, ruled that the learner’s countenance at question was not constitutionally safe. The Highest Court found that the banner “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS” stood not a safeguard for learner freedom and that faculty officials might restrict such countenance in institution activities (p. 2629). The move to restricting the right of expression and speech of students in institutions nearly instantly after the rights of students were established. After saying beautifully that kids do not give up their certainties when they go to school, Justice Fortas settled that pupils speak and express themselves

The comment convoluted the student speech and speech research because he showed that the liberties of students are not unrestricted and that there are specific circumstances that permit school authorities to repress the speech and expression of students. Furthermore, the third conclusion did not precisely define student speech and expression which were unlawful; instead, the Court suggested that the constitutionality of the expression was governed by the effects of the speech – which materially disturb class work. In certain cases, nonetheless, the Law court left it to the institute 0fficials to try and determine what term produces a serious material interruption. This was not the first occasion that the High Court divided the Tinker theory. Over the Forty years following Tinker, there have been two further issues of student expression in municipal institutes ruled by the Highest Law court: Bethel Sch. Dist. v. Fraser (1986) and Hazelwood Sch. Dist, v. Kuhlmeier (1988). In Fraser, the Supreme Court ruled that the privileges of pupils at learning institutes are not anything like the rights of grown-ups in others (Fraser, p. 682; Morse, p. 2622). Tinker’s deconstruction proceeded in Kuhlmeier after the Court of law noted that the privileges of children need to be examined in reference to the specific features of the institute environment (Kuhlmeier, p. 266; Morse p. 2622). Morse reaffirmed the useful details of the learner speech and interpretation privileges analysis in the institute, said there is added tactic to school constitutional expression analyses, and added that schools could suppress certain speeches, in particular student speeches that fortified illegal drug use (see Morse, p. 2627) at school or at learning institutions. The impact of the four rulings was to determine the legal limits of student speech and expression in schools in a fragmented way.

In view of the scholar expression and speech issues, the Highest Court of law has left school authorities straining to implement Court decisions coherently. This is shown by the flux of scholars expression and speech conflicts that four are still entering the court rooms for the reason that of discrepancies over the constitutionality of a learners discourse and speech. Tinker created a basis for the students’ right of speech and expression in schools, but the attitude of the Supreme Court besides the actual degree of the legitimate speech and communication privileges of the pupils in institutions remained uncertain 40 years after that judgment. The federal courts have created a broad record of participation in establishing the appropriate breadth of student speech and expression in schools. Rubber, spiritual toffee canes, imitation pages MySpace sheets, institute voting speeches occupied with erotic incantations, poorly counseled newspaper papers and drug-chargeted group music as a student speech and affirmation concerns, which were certain in the court room rather than the headteachers office, were included as protest bracelets and pro-drug banners. While the federal courts have definitely said that the primary function of the institutionl is to train learners, the central courts have played an important role in evaluating whether students can practice civil liberties in schools or participate in events that are sponsored by schools. (Eric 529) (Kasper)

Need for the Study

American institutes are now flattering platforms where scholars are relentlessly attempting to perform their fundamental rights, allowing teachers and administrators to ascertain that the behavior of students is legally protected or surpasses these protection measures and falls inside the scope of the academic control system. However, it has become much more hard to establish a clear difference between the legal student speech rights and learner expression and speech, which are beyond the scope of First Amendment to five. The manifestation of students has grown from word in the lessons, lobbies and lunch rooms to write-in-school journals, underground articles and written fliers, with video-communications in schools, web posts, blog sites and conversations, social media profiles in addition to mobile telephone text messaging. At the very same time as the means of scholar manifestation are widening, there has been a widening concern for institute violence and institute security and transformed attention on educational triumph for students underneath the Centralized No Child Left Behind Act. The confluence of these contending goals places institute administrators in a problematic situation to harmless and safe institutes centered on educational excellence whereas honoring the right of legal countenance and speech even later entering via the entrances of the schoolhouse.

The Highest Court of law has generally defined the landscape of student expression and speech privileges in its four rulings. However, these four options do not handle every possible occasion or style of student expression and provide no clear guidelines when school officials face conflicting interests. Student speech and expression not clearly aligned with a First Amendment Right stated challenges school authorities to specify how much supervision they can use to preserve a constructive atmosphere. The scope of the constitutionally protected rights of students and where constraints on the rights announced are really introduced remains unclear. The decisions of the Lower Federal Court, using the criteria set by the Highest Court of law in scholar expression and speech, shall be reviewed, analysed and interpreted for the convenience of school leaders. This is vital to enhance the understanding of the six boundaries of secured student rights. This study will help school officials to understand what to examine when deciding if learners have surpassed their guaranteed privileges or if a wished-for scholar expression restriction is legal. An examination and review of the existing legislative structure for school students’ rights of expression will provide vital knowledge that helps educational authorities to make educated judgments rather than presume on freedom of speech of students. (Smolla, 437) (Smolla)

Purpose of Study

The aim of this research was to discover and revise the lawful limitations of school expression and speech privileges, as established then recognized by US Central law lords, to allow instructors to sort educated assessments in the perspective of the scholar’s expression and speech. The study evaluated the discourse and expressions issued by federal court students from 1 January 1983 to 31 December 2008. 2 The study focused on the student discourse and expression principles of the Highest Court of law and on the application of the scientific method by the federal benches to a range of contexts impacting learner expression and speech privileges. This study and its results will be a beneficial instrument to direct teachers in situations where student speech and expression in school are necessary to take decisions. The study aimed at highlighting the issues faced by managers in setting, understanding and implementing the limitations of scholar expression and speech . It gives good data to institution administrators on the development of learner expression and speech privileges in public schools by the Highest Court of law and lesser central law lords. The study helps to define the scope and proper limitations to new school language and countenance rights of kids under the First change in the Constitution. The knowledge can be used by instructors to distinguish between constitutional and constitutional language that overlooks or surpasses constitutional safeguards. 1. In what extent are the student-speaking and expressive rulings of the Supreme Court guiding municipal institutions leaders in making rational choices on the magnitude of scholar speech and the freedoms of countenance underneath the first constitutional change of the United States of America?

To what quantity is the implementation of the student expression and speech ideals of the Highest Court of law in the lesser law court providing public school leaders with clarity of decisions taken by the Court and guidelines for making rational choices in schools regarding student liberty of communication under the First Change to a United States Constitution?

Scholar dialogue and freedom of manifestation carry on to be an important and frequently discussed issue in education. The goal of this literary study is to examine the research and academic publications published in school in the previous 25 years in the field of learner expression and speech. The information is chronologically provided and separated into categories depending on the time of issuance of the decisions of the Supreme Court. The first segment covers writings produced between 1 January 1983 and the Bethel Sch. Dist. v Fraser judgment of the Court (1986). The second segment analyzes articles from Fraser to Hazelwood S.D. v. Kuhlmeier for two years (1988). Section 3 contains publications and research published during Kuhlmeier and the Court’s most current judgment in 2007 on scholar manifestation, Morse v. Frederick. The last segment deals with writings from Morse through December 31, 2008. The historical method demonstrates the development of academic views of the changing approach of the Supreme Court to the student voice in education. It emphasizes the difficulty of the student expression and speech survey in every succeeding Supreme Court case, rather than clarifying the subject of scholar discourse and communication privileges in institutions underneath the First change of the U.s. Constituents . This analysis complimentes and extends earlier studies by studying the student expression criteria of the jurisprudence and the implementation of the rulings by the subordinate federal courts (Cheema, Manal 175)

Student Expression before Fraser:

Use of a solitary model For seventeen years, Tinker became the first ruling of the Highest Court of law regulating the manifestation of students at institutions. According to the Law court review to Fraser in 1986, classroom literature concentrated on the significant substantial threshold of interruption set by Tinker and its extension to several reaistic situations. The studied material provided a sense of how educators approached student expression in school and how the Tinker decision was applied by the federal courts. The document also anticipated the Supreme Court’s future decisions. Freeman (1984) suggested a proposed student expression rights analysis approach in school. Its objective was “to harmonize the inculcative duty of public education with the limits of government authority on First Amendment” (Freeman, p. 3). In the study, the writer examined the conflict of attention in the morals and privileges of students in accordance with the First Amendment. He reviewed pertinent precedents, together with Tinker and Education Board v. Pico (1982), and then concentrated on his suggested student resolution framework First Amendment at school. Freeman began by saying that the suggested framework firmly supported the duty of the school to instill particular values into pupils and opposed the concept that the classroom is a marketplace for ideas subject to students’ choices (p. 42). The context suggested to “draw a distinction between legal internalization of value and illegal propaganda” and specifies the 15 proper role of courts in examining questioned choices by government officials and academics” (Freeman, p. 42). Nevertheless, the writer plainly wanted to edge the rights of scholars rather than expand them. He argues that students have no infinite freedom to acquire comments and insights, but school officials can define the overall curriculum and the contents of classes almost unlimitedly. The way a tutor administers a lecture determines that he or she makes many judgments about the subject and the limitation of certain concepts and views. In addition, lecture discussions should be moderated and confined to the topic, maintaining a decorum in the classroom. Freeman stated that this is the only way that communal schooling can accomplish enlightening aims and inculcatory purposes effectively (p. 47).

Freeman further stated that the school’s character did not permit pupils only to cast-off ideas; instead, kids may well be forced to read, learn and even absorb the ideals of institute and communal (p. 48). He also placed period restrictions on the period at school and reduced academic time to decide on education material and to ensure that school administrators could take these selections in the best possible way. Freeman stated that if school actually provided kids with true availability to knowledge and thoughts, they would finally dictate the curricular and how time was consumed on instruction (p. 48). He believed that this would undermine the inculcation and character of education and lead to an surroundings which limited real education. After exhaustively examining school administrators’ inculcating duties, Freeman offered that the courts should be ready to participate when education success depends on political, one-sided or spiritual propaganda (p. 50). The writer stressed there is a difficult equilibrium amongst 16 ideals and religious and political brainwashing. Whilst supporting educators’ rights to choose information exchange and the best means to provide instruction, courts must guarantee that there is no undue religious and political propaganda (p. 53-54). Freeman’s concept of schooling was fairly traditional. While rulings by the Highest Court of law subsequently restricted the scope of the scholar’s privileges of manifestation originally allowed by Tinker, the frame established by Freeman more constrained the liberties of students than subsequent decisions by the Court. Though his research did not rely on a specific choice or right, he developed a system to evaluate the adequate level of expression rights of pupils. In the throes of what Bartlett (1985) perceived to be a one-sided push to expand student’s rights, the author produced an article intended at easing teachers’ paranoia regarding student lawsuits (p. 39). The paper was a research synopsis (Bartlett, 1983) Bartlett had completed a student assignment in school two years earlier and the essay presented a list of “student legal obligations as defined by central law lords” (Bartlett, 1985, p. 40). Though comparable to the present research, Bartlett’s work was different by addressing student liberties from a federal court perspective that created – implicitly or directly – student legal duties. In this study, similar but more recent rulings were considered by the courts, which established limits on academic freedom rather than constructive obligations for students. Although the technique and approach vary, the results of Bartlett are important for this study (Erdie, Julia Wells 175)

Freedom of speech is a person’s right to articulate their opinions and ideas deprived of fear of reprisal, restriction, or unlawful legal action. The First Change of the Constitution of United States of America states, “House shall make no law regarding an institution of belief, or elimination of free isometrics thereof; or shortening the liberty of communication, or of the media; or the right of the people peacefully to gather, and to appeal the Administration for a compensation of complaints”.[i] It is important to note that not all speech is afforded the same levels of protection. The levels of protection are determined by the speech’s value. Speech is considered to have high value, low value, or no value. High value speech or political speech is dialogue regarding policymaking, faith or other matters of view. This form of speech is looked at by the courts with strict scrutiny. Low value speech or commercial speech is speech solely relating to the speakers interests and receives less protections by the courts then high value speech. Lastly, no value speech includes obscenity, fraud, or true threats. The Congressional Research Service States:

In order for material to be obscene, and thus unprotected under the First Amendment, it must, on the whole, “appeal to the prurient interest in sex” (as judged by contemporary community standards), depict or describe sexual conduct (as specifically defined by state law) in a patently offensive way, and lack “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. [ii]

Freedom of speech as set forth by the First Amendment is not an earned right. Instead, it is a right that is given to you the moment you are born in the United States Of America. This means there is no age in which you get the right to speak freely, nor gender or ethnicity requirements. Even children have the right to express their independent thoughts and opinions. The question we are going to explore throughout this document is children’s freedom of speech rights upheld when in a public institute setting.

It is significant to note that I mentioned public schools in the paragraph above. The federal government is limited in placing restrictions on your freedom of expression however, it does not stop private sectors from doing so. Meaning if a child were to attend a private school run by a private organization versus a public school commonly run by the state their rights to freedom of speech would likely differ. Children attending public school would have more protections regarding freedom of speech thanks to the doctrine of selective incorporation. The doctrine of discerning combination guarantees states cannot endorse rules that take away American resident’s legitimate rights that are protected under the Bill of Rights. Specifically, section one of amendment 14 states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.

The First Amendment Correct to liberty of communication is not an all-encompassing law, as briefly mentioned. As renowned in The City of Chicago v. Alexander (2014), “The First Amendment does not guarantee the right to communicate one’s views at all times and places or in any manner that may be desired. A state may therefore impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place or manner of constitutionally protected speech occurring in a public forum. ” It is permitted to restrict speech in terms of time, place, and manner, so long as there are ample alternatives available. The ample alternative provision can cause confusion for those trying to understand time, place, and manner restrictions. What qualifies as an acceptable alternative? An alternative does not need to be the first choice of a way to communicate, nor does it need to be the same method of communication. That is, if the original method of communication was vocal, an acceptable alternative could be written. In fact, an ample alternative does not even have to reach the same audience as the original speech”. A simple example of a sensible limit on the period, residence or method would be neighborhoods setting time restrictions on when you can make loud noises. Another example includes restrictions on where individuals can protest. Protesters may not be allowed to stand in the road and block traffic, but they are able to stand on the sidewalk.

Public schools are run by and often funded by the state. We previously discussed that because of the doctrine of selective incorporation the state has limits to which they can restrict an individual’s freedom of speech and expression. However, what happens if a student expresses their freedom of speech in a way that violates school policy? What right does the school have to enforce standards? Can they discipline a child for something they have expressed on social media away from the classroom? In what instances can the public-school systems step in and discipline a student who has expressed an opinion that the school finds to be inappropriate or detrimental to other students learning? These questions have been a topic of popular conversation as technology continues to advance and was recently discussed and ruled on at the Supreme Court level.

United States Supreme Court case Morse v. Frederick[iii]involved a male scholar who was deferred from faculty after he refused to take down a banner that appeared to promote illegal drug use. In 2002 while attending an offsite Olympic Torch Relay the student displayed a banner that read “BONG HITS 4 JESUS” whereas standing on a municipal pavement. The offsite the student was attending was a school sponsored event with faculty and other students present. When the principle saw the banner, they instructed the student to remove it because it violated school policy against illegal drug use. The student refused to remove the banner and was suspended for ten days. Once notified of his suspension he requested review by the school board who upheld the student’s suspension. Believing that his constitutional rights had been violated he filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Course found a First Amendment violation in that the school officials failed to show how the scholar’s dialoguedisrupted the institute’s activity before punishing him. When the case appeared before the Supreme Court, the high court found that institute administrators did not disrupt the scholar’s First Amendment rights. According to the court’s ruling an institute head teacher may, reliable with the First Amendment, confine scholar dialogue at a faculty event when that speech is reasonably regarded as endorsing prohibited substance use.

Some would argue that the student was off campus at the time of the incident and therefore should have been able to express his constitutional right. In this case I feel that the Highest Court of law made the right choice in finding that the scholar’s First Change rights were not dishonored. Though off campus the student was attending a school function and even admitted to displaying the banner as an “experiment”. In a telephonic interview the student stated “I conducted my free speech experiment to assert my rights at a time when I felt that free speech was being eroded in America. The high school I attended advocated that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights did not apply to students. I was skeptical of my own free speech rights, and I wanted to know more precisely the boundaries of my freedom”. I believe that students have a right to express their views but should understand the school environment is unique. Schools have an obligation to impart scholars what is communally suitable conduct and to offer them a safe enlightening setting. The learning environment has been changing in the recent years with the evolution of technology. With the majority of student’s having access to a computer or a cellphone schools have had to reconstruct classroom policies as well as disciplinary polices. An important question faced by schools is can they regulate what students post online. Though there is not a cut and dry answer yet the case of Mahanoy Area Sch. Dist. v. B.L. has laid the groundwork for future policies.

United States Highest Court of law case Mahanoy Area Sch. Dist. v. B.L.[iv] decided the case of a female student who tried out for her high institute’s varsity cheerleading team. When she found out that she did not make the varsity cheerleading team, she posted the following on Snapchat, “Fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything.” She dispatched this message while off-campus and outside of school hours to a private account. Though the post was not made publicly, a copy of the message was provided to school’s administration and cheerleading coaches. The school felt the post violated school policies and adjourned her from the junior varsity cheerleading squad for a year. The student and her maternities believed that the deferral was in desecration of her First Amendment right to freedom of dialogue. In addition, they believed that their daughters constitutionally protected property right to partake in after school activities had been violated. After attempting to resolve the issue with the school directly the family filed a petition with the court.

The case was first heard by the district court who agreed that the institute had desecrated the scholar’s First Amendment rights and ordered that the school lift her suspension. However, when the student was allowed to rejoin the team, it appeared to affect other students. Many students approached the coached and expressed their concerns with having the student on the team after what she had posted to social media. These concerns were expressed by parents and even students in classroom environments. The school deemed the student’s action to influence other student’s ability to learn and took the case before the Highest Court of law, who decided to hear the instance. While making their decision the Supreme Court looked at several variables in this case. The ones I am going to speak to include the categories of student speech that schools have the power to regulate under certain parameters. The first is the school’s ability to correct a student for using indecent, lewd, or vulgar speech during a school assembly on school grounds. In this case, the school district could not make the argument that they suspended the student based on her using lewd or vulgar speech because she was not on school grounds when the post was made. Additionally, the school could not argue that her speech had no value based on the vulgar contents. As previously discussed for speech to have no value it would need to meet the criteria of obscenity. The student’s speech does not meet this criterion and in fact meets the criteria of high value speech. The second is the school’s right to enforce the use of proper speech during class trips, improper speech would include anything that promotes illegal drug use or profanity previously mentioned. Like the first category of speech this would not apply as the student was off campus. The third category of speech applies to speech that others may reasonably perceive as bearing the approbation of the school. For example, if the student were to write “Fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything.” in the institute’s newspaper and provide it to the student body. Under these circumstances the school would have the right to take disciplinary action. This is because the student’s actions would be the cause of disruption in other student’s learning and daily school activities.

Another unique factor that the Supreme Court took into consideration when making their ruling was the school’s loco parentis authority over its students. Loco parentis means that the school is acting in a parental capacity over a student while they are at school. The school in a sense assumes custody of the child and acts in the place of their parent. In the case, Mahanoy Area Sch. Dist. v. B.L.[v] the court found that the institute was not acting in a mad parentis role at the time of the misconduct in question. In June 2021, the Highest Court ordered that institutes do have a right to adjust some student speech both on and off campus. However, in the situation of Mahanoy Area Sch. Dist. v. B.L. the law court with a vote of 8-1 ruled in favor of the student stating that suspending her from the cheerleading squad for one year was in desecration of her First Amendment privileges. In addition, they did not find that the student’s outside campus speech was intimidating vehemence or harassing individual learners or teachers.

As a result of Mahanoy Area Sch. Dist. v. B.L. the school environment or on campus speech now includes the following:

  • institutions and their immediate surroundings during and after school activities;
  • off-campus, where schools are accountable for pupils (e.g. campus lunches); • commute from and to school; • speak all of it via computers or servers;
  • Distant learning;
  • during “school credit activities”
  • email addresses or phones communicated to school.

This case is instrumental for a multitude of reasons one being that it is the first major case heard on the topic of First Amendment rights as it pertains to student’s social media use. Though it is not the first case to discuss student’s First Amendments rights, in fact the case Tinker v. Des Moines was cited several times in the case above and happened well before technology became a part of our everyday lives.

Tinker v. Des Moines[vi] was a case heard by the Highest Court in 1968. The incident involves several public school learners who were expelled in defiance of the Vietnam War for wearing black bracelets at school. The students were peacefully demonstrating and did not participate in any other actions that would constitute disruptive conduct. After the students were notified of their suspension, they jointly filed a protest against the institute that was heard by a trial court. The court decided in favor of the institution because they considered that the school had to suspend it to avoid disturbances. However, when the case was brought to the Highest Court the ruling was overturned. The Supreme Court ruled students wearing black bracelets was completely disconnected from possibly unsettling conduct. Key elements that played in the deciding factor of Supreme Court included the analysis that students cannot be prohibited from wearing symbols, in this case armbands, as long as it does not hinder with the institute’s ability to maintain proper discipline and operation of the school. Wearing a symbol such as an armband with the intent to express support of certain views or beliefs is covered underneath the First Change.

I approve with both Supreme Court ruling of Mahanoy Area Sch. Dist. v. B.L. and Tinker v. Des Moines. Students should be expected to adhere to school policies and held accountable if they do not. However, school policies should be reasonable and should not violate students’ constitutional rights. As a general rule, students in public school settings have less speech protection then adults in public settings. As cited above this can be attributed to the Supreme Courts ruling that public schools are unique and must maintain an acceptable learning environment for its students. The High Court also reportedly stated that “children do not abandon their legal right of freedom of expression or speech on school doorstep”. Students’ communication rights seem to be well distinguished while in the schoolhouse gate but how can schools regulate student speech outside the schoolhouse gate. Specifically, speech on social media that negatively affects another student or a member of the faculty. Cyber bulling is one example of social media use that happens off campus that can have a large impact on the school’s ability to maintain a safe learning environment. Can and should schools be allowed to discipline students for cyber bullying?

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Some individuals believe that misconduct that happens off campus, to include cyber bullying should be handled by the student’s parents. It is becoming a fine line determining what social media conduct can and should be handled by the school. If the conduct happens off campus but the “victim” comes to school feeling unsafe should the school, then step in and take disciplinary action or simply contact the other students’ parents? Personally, I believe it should be a combination of the two. For instance, after the first incident the school contacts the child’s parents and explains the situation. If it appears that the behavior has not been corrected and the “victim” feels unsafe while on school property, the school should be allowed to interfere. In this scenario the element of causing “substantial disruption” has been met. Meeting this element can be difficult as mentioned in Tinker v. Des Moines. The institute felt that they had enough evidence to show substantial disruption though the supreme court disagreed. With the use of social media this line is further blurred. Schools must be careful when deciding to punish a student based on things students say online that may be inappropriate or interpreted to violate school policies. This is not enough to warrant punishment, what we have seen ruled on recently is that the student’s post must be proven to be cyberbullying.


The Writer did not elaborate on the Tinker decision of the Court, although a number of 17 of his findings can be linked to that case. Bartlett discovered that teachers must refrain from violating the rights of other students, take ‘a course that can be fairly forecast to lead to material and significant disruptions to the school environment,’ ‘will desist from acts of lack of respect and defiance,’ and that learners may well be apprehended for the ‘distribution’ of material that disrupts the institute surroundings. Although Bartlett characterises them as student obligations, they all can be attributed to the Tinker Court’s statement that institutes can limit learner countenance that interrupts education processes significantly and financially or violates other students’ rights. Findings also gave precise forecasts of the future activities of the Highest Court. Bartlett asserted in 1985 that learners have a lawful duty to “never longer use popular, harsh, and obscene language and make reproachful or slanderous assertions about others.” Although the Judiciary in Fraser spoke explicitly and defined as a restriction on the freedom of expression of students, next year the school authorities might restrict the very same type of language that students Bartlett contended had to use appropriately. Bartlett also decided that “school officials can regulate the student sharing of pamphlets in a fair way on the date, place and manner” (p. 41). Again, while expressed differently and more extensively than Bartlett proposed, the Supreme Court limited student communication rights with regard to student periodicals through its Kuhlmeier decision in 1988.

Works Cited

Erdie, Julia Wells. A Legal Analysis of Students’ First Amendment Rights in K-12 Public Education as It Relates to Internet Speech. Diss. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2019.

Cheema, Manal. “Fill in the Blank: Compelling Student Speech on Religion.” Virginia Law Review 105 (2019): 175-197.

Smolla, Rodney A. “The meaning of the “marketplace of ideas” in first amendment law.” Communication Law and Policy 24.4 (2019): 437-475.

Kasper, Eric T. “Public Universities and the First Amendment: Controversial Speakers, Protests, and Free Speech Policies.” Cap. UL Rev. 47 (2019): 529.

Bohannan, Christina. “On the 50th Anniversary of Tinker v. Des Moines: Toward a Positive View of Free Speech on College Campuses.” Iowa L. Rev. 105 (2019): 2233.

Schragger, Richard, and Micah Schwartzman. “Religious Antiliberalism and the First Amendment.” Minn. L. Rev. 104 (2019): 1341.

Black Jr, Watt Lesley, and Elizabeth A. Shaver. “The First Amendment, Social Media, and the Public Schools: Emergent Themes and Unanswered Questions.” Nev. LJ 20 (2019): 1.

Fort, Timothy L., and Melissa Latini. “The Duty to Establish, Monitor, and Enforce: How Today’s Corporate Compliance Standards Provide a Workable Model to Limit Defamation and Protect First Amendment Freedoms.” Notre Dame JL Ethics & Pub. Pol’y 33 (2019): 35.

Saha, Koustuv, Eshwar Chandrasekharan, and Munmun De Choudhury. “Prevalence and psychological effects of hateful speech in online college communities.” Proceedings of the 10th ACM conference on web science. 2019.

[i] United States Constitution. Amend. I

[ii] Congressional Research Service. (2019, January 16). The First Amendment: Categories of Speech.

[iii] Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393, 127 S. Ct. 2618 (2007)

[iv]B.L. v. Mahanoy Area Sch. Dist., 964 F.3d 170 (3d Cir. 2020)

[v]B.L. v. Mahanoy Area Sch Dist., 964 F .3d 170 (3d Cir. 2020)

[vi] Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 89 S. Ct. 733 (1969)

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