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Key Finding 2

Students are less likely than adults to think that people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions or newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

"The First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democratic society. Unfortunately, young people don't live it enough. It becomes like the granite monument in the park that we never visit."

-Sandy Woodcock, Director
Newspaper Association of America Foundation

Adults, teachers and principals are more apt to agree with the traditional forms of expressing one's First Amendment rights. For example, up to 80 percent think newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

The graphic, however, shows that when it comes to situations more relevant to students' own concerns, students agree at higher rates than adults that certain forms of expression should be allowed (i.e., musicians singing songs with lyrics some may find offensive, and students reporting controversial issues in their papers without approval from school authorities).

Do you agree or disagree that .

*Adult data is based on findings from the State of the First Amendment (SOFA) survey conducted each year by the Freedom Forum in Nashville , Tenn. , and the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut . Data listed is from the most recent SOFA survey in which the question was asked. In the chart above, the breakdown of SOFA data is as follows: People should be allowed to express. (2003); Newspapers should be allowed to publish. (2003); Musicians should be allowed to sing songs. (2004); High school students should be allowed to report. (2000).




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  J-IDEAS is funded in part by the John S. and James 
L. Knight Foundation's
High School Initiative
and Ball State University.
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