Guide to Free Speech and Censorship for Students

 

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Modern technology has empowered students to make their voices heard. Students at public insitutions have a right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution, just like everyone else. Students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech… at the schoolhouse gate.” Tinker v. Des Moines School District.

However, there are certain circumstances where schools are allowed to restrict a student’s free speech. The most important distinction here is whether or not the student’s speech happens on campus, or off. Generally speaking, schools have significantly more power to regulate speech that occurs on campus, or makes its way onto campus, than speech that occurs off campus. Depending on where the speech occurs a student’s rights change.

This guide is for both students and parents who want to know their rights when it comes to free speech and school censorship. 

Photograph by Jim Olive, "Children in Fort Smith...,"(http://arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/ExternalIdSearch?id=553911)

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