First Amendment Rights of Children in the School System

Essay by MizWiz2004University, Bachelor'sA+, September 2009

download word file, 7 pages 5.0

First Amendment rights of children in the school systemEarly settlers fled the tyrannical reign of England because they wanted to create a new land where all men were equal and had the right to worship, speak and assemble in any manner they wished. This is evident in the First amendment to the Constitution which reserves the right of every citizen to the freedom of religious expression, speech, press and assembly. This paper will explore several cases brought before the Supreme Court which challenges these freedoms and why these cases needed to be heard and interpreted by the Supreme Court. This paper will also evaluate the rights and responsibilities that the Constitution gives American citizens and how the decision of the Court continues to affect the rights of American citizens today.

The questions many people are asking these days are whether students have the same rights of free press and speech while involved in school activities or if school officials can control the content of school newspapers.

Many students believe that these Constitutional rights are guaranteed in and out of the schoolhouse setting and may attempt to exercise these rights when a disagreement with school officials arises (Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. "Great American Court Cases," 1999). Even though schools have the responsibility to protect all students, children's First Amendment rights are protected and have been upheld by Supreme Court rulings in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988).

Freedom of SpeechThe Supreme Court has acknowledged that the First Amendment protects not only the adult population, but also minors' rights to freedom of expression in a variety of situations. According to Patterson (2008), the first Amendment to the United States Constitution...