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Twenty-five years after the U.S. Supreme Court told public schools they could lawfully censor students for any reason "reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns," the nation's leading journalism educators are calling for an end to the misuse of that legal authority to stifle discussion of controversial topics.
In a resolution unanimously approved by its board, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) urges K-12 schools to refrain from abusing the Supreme Court's 1988 ruling, Hazelwood School District v.
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has named its 2013 Jefferson Muzzle Award winners, and not surprisingly, quite a few of the dubious awards went to schools and policies that affect students.
If you want to get technical about it, the Civil War has been over for 148 years. Still, sporadic fighting breaks out occasionally -- as it did in a South Carolina school district over the right to wear a Confederate flag to school.
When the encyclopedia of student free-speech law is written, an entire chapter will be needed just to encompass Confederate battle flag cases.
Earlier this month, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication approved a unanimous resolution urging schools to refrain from censorship made lawful by the Supreme Court's 1988 ruling in Hazelwood School District v.
New federal guidance about what constitutes sexually harassing speech on college campuses appear to expand the definition of "harassment" to include harmless references to sexual topics, even those in student media.
Two federal agencies, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, announced a settlement last week in their investigation of the University of Montana-Missoula, which was accused of responding lackadaisically to campus sexual assaults.
A federal court has declined to dismiss the bulk of a civil-rights lawsuit brought by a vegetarian activist arrested while distributing leaflets outside the front gate of a City University of New York campus in the Bronx.
Richard Hershey, a St.
A federal court in Hawaii has become the latest to apply the Supreme Court's Hazelwood standard -- a ruling about the rights of kids attending K-12 schools -- to the First Amendment claims of an adult-age college student.
In a ruling issued last month, a federal district judge threw out the claims of a University of Hawaii senior, Mark L.
Posting on social media about stuff you see at work is risky business. When you're enrolled in college, it's downright hazardous.
The University of Minnesota disciplined a mortuary science student who made flippant remarks on Facebook about the corpse she was assigned to dissect.
A Texas graduation speaker goes off-script to complain about being forced to water down the religious message of his speech, and the school unplugs the microphone. A Florida commencement speaker pauses, and -- fearing a deviation from the prepared text -- his principal stops the speech and has him removed by security guards. An Oklahoma graduation speaker lets loose with an improvised wisecrack using the word "hell," and the school withholds her diploma.
Each year around this time, some of America's top high school graduates get an unwanted parting "lesson" from their schools about the limits of the First Amendment.
Although the Supreme Court famously told us in 1969 that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate," the Court's subsequent pronouncement in Hazelwood School District v.
When a student voices a personal opinion during school -- even during class -- that opinion is entitled to a high degree of First Amendment protection, and it may neither be proscribed nor punished absent concrete evidence that it provoked a disruptive reaction or was imminently likely to do so.
That has been the law for some 44 years, since the Supreme Court decided Tinker v.
Let's say the local school board has an "open mike hour" where members of the public can offer comments.
The unemployment lines are littered with former public employees who made misfired jokes, shared PG-13 photos (or even G-rated ones), or aired complaints about their jobs on Facebook.
There's a small but powerful item on today's New York Times Learning blog that should bring a gasp from anyone who cares about building safe schools that encourage critical thinking.
One-third of Americans think the First Amendment “goes too far in the rights it guarantees,” the First Amendment Center reported today.
Results of a Newseum Institute survey sponsored by the FAC revealed that while 34 percent of Americans think the First Amendment guarantees too many rights, many of those surveyed didn’t have a good grasp on the rights it includes.
The Student Press Law Center is part of a coalition of free-expression groups that called today for the U.S.
By any standard, Joseph Corlett displayed questionable taste in a series of journal entries he submitted for a college writing assignment.
Because of that poor judgment, Corlett is receiving little public sympathy after his Michigan college suspended him for making lustful comments about his instructor in a writing assignment.
On July 23, a federal district judge found no First Amendment violation in Oakland University's decision to suspend Corlett on a charge of harassment.
There is no disputing that Corlett's journal entries -- comparing his English professor to "Gilligan's Island" sex-symbol Ginger and generally "hubba-hubba-ing" over her appearance -- were unbecoming to a married 57-year-old businessman. But the federal court's ruling takes dangerous liberties with the law of the First Amendment.
We enjoyed the presentations and papers shared last week at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference here in Washington, D.C.
Whether public schools can regulate students' off-campus speech just as if the speech occurred on campus is a recurring legal issue that will arise with increasing frequency now that state legislatures are putting schools into the business of policing online bullying.
The Ninth Circuit U.S.
It's the first month of school for most students, which is a good time to take a look at policies or procedures that may have changed over the summer break without much notice.
It’s illegal for public agencies to discipline teachers for statements they make, if those statements are a "matter of public concern," a federal appeals court ruled last week.
Most public employees can be disciplined for making statements their bosses don’t like, even if it might seem like they are protected by the First Amendment.