The First Amendment in High School Essay

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What is the age that a person should be able to claim rights under the first amendment? The first thing would come to most people's mind is eighteen. However, upon examination, someone could easily justify that a sixteen year old who is in his or her second year of college would have the ability to form an opinion and should be allowed to express it. What makes this student different from another student who, at sixteen, drops out of school and gets a job, or a student who decides to wear a shirt that says "PRO-CHOICE" on it? While these students differ in many aspects such as education level, their opinion can equally be silenced under the first amendment. One of the most blatant abuses of the first amendment right to free speech is …show more content…

Yet, in 1999, when Serrano High School first banned the wearing of clothes with certain colors because they were feared to be "gang-related", the students had no choice but to comply. While the School Board does retain the right to censor some forms of expression because they are inappropriate in language or may cause a disruption to the learning process, the idea that students are not allowed to wear clothes because of their color begins to push the envelope. In 2003 the school board took this a step further and banned any hat with a logo other than the schools logo on it because of the prevalence of hats with inappropriate logos on them that might be gang-related or have a double-meaning. However, this reasoning was never justified with any event or occurrence that would prove these hats were becoming an issue of security for the students. Often times, the only form of expression a High School age student has is the clothing they wear, and the banning of their selection of clothing without giving justification is equivalent to restricting any other form of free speech without justification. The fact that school boards only vaguely justify their reasons for certain dress code restrictions is enough to warrant a reasoned inquiry by the students into why their speech is being suppressed.

School boards often do not adequately justify their reasons for denying High School Students their first amendment rights. Usually, the

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