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Appeals court's "ethnic studies" ruling fortifies students' rights to receive information

(07/20/15 4:46pm)

A federal appeals court allowed student plaintiffs to go forward with due process and First Amendment challenges to the state of Arizona's decision to eliminate "ethnic studies" courses from the K-12 curriculum. The court's 3-0 decision is remarkable for recognizing that students have a constitutionally protected right to receive information even in the classroom setting, a principle that may strengthen the hand of future student plaintiffs.



New federal rule would protect college journalists from IRB demands to review their "research"

(12/27/15 8:07pm)

Federal rules require "research" involving "human subjects" to be approved by colleges' Institutional Review Boards. Overzealous colleges occasionally have insisted that student journalists submit their surveys or questionnaires for institutional pre-approval, violating basic principles of press freedom. The SPLC is urging the federal government to adopt a proposal categorically removing journalism from the purview of IRBs.


Get it off your chest? Not anymore. LGBT rights can be debated on T-shirts in schools.

(12/31/15 12:47pm)

Students' First Amendment right to wear T-shirts with social or political statements is a fiercely disputed issue that regularly ends up in court. A new ruling from Tennessee adds to the consensus that speech on a T-shirt cannot be banned as "disruptive" just because it addresses an issue of social controversy such as LGBT rights.







Pennsylvania court extends school's disciplinary reach into student's off-campus Facebook joke

(05/12/16 7:58pm)

A federal district judge sided with school disciplinarians in a First Amendment case involving a joke posted to Facebook, but the court also struck down as unconstitutional a school policy that made "inappropriate" speech a punishable disciplinary offense if there was any possibility of disruption at school.



A partly cloudy forecast for the First Amendment: Newseum study finds mixed level of public knowledge and support for free-speech principles

(07/01/16 6:53pm)

One-quarter of Americans strongly believe that "offensive" speech should be unprotected on college campuses, and the percent is even higher for speech in high schools, says a newly released survey by the Newseum Institute, which also finds diminishing awareness of First Amendment rights generally.




Court punts Kansas social-media expulsion case, finds no consensus on college students' online rights

(12/05/16 11:09am)

Nobody -- including University of Kansas disciplinarians -- knows where the First Amendment boundary lines are drawn in cyberspace, so the university can't be held liable even if it overreacted in expelling a student for insulting remarks about his ex-girlfriend on Twitter, a federal district court says.