Freedom of Speech in the School System: Rights for Dean and Students

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The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the exercise of an individual’s freedom of speech from infringement by government; the Fourteenth Amendment extends this protection to the States and local levels of government, including public schools and universities. The Supreme Court has held that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate” (Tinker). School officials have the authority to censor school-sponsored speech based on legitimate pedagogical concerns. The dean of students has not censored any editorials yet, but required that they be cleared by her before publication. The main issue in this case is whether there exists a legitimate reason on her part to require the clearance of every editorial. Additionally, the dean of students has warned against a planned rally to protest lavish spending. This protest is not school-sponsored speech, but student speech that occurs in school premises. In Tinker v. Des Moines Ind. Sch. Dist., the Supreme Court ruled that speech must be tolerated unless it “substantially interfere[s] with the work of the school or impinge[s] upon the rights of other students.” Here the question is on the justification of the school to use disciplinary action against protesting students.
If the dean of students had required the removal of the editorial, she would have violated my Constitutional rights; the editorial did not disrupt school discipline, undermine the…