Freedom of Speech

By Zoe Bedard

“Freedom of speech is the right to express any opinion without censorship or restraint.” There are nine categories of unprotected free speech which include blackmail, threats, and perjury. Committing these crimes can lead to discipline such as five years of imprisonment or even worse. Most people will agree that threatening to kill your Ex’s dog or screaming at a jury should not be protected by the first amendment, and should be punished for breaking the law. The Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech.” Showing that congress cannot create a law that removes someone’s right to freedom of speech.

No one is under just one set of rules or laws in the United States. You could be under government law, your state laws, laws in your local county, and then your work area or schools rules. This means that just because the state allows students to say what they want, it’s not a right in school. Even though Congress cannot take away your freedom of speech, it seems that yelling a curse word in a high school lobby will receive some negative reactions. Still students should have their right to do it. In the case of Tinker vs. Des Moines, Congress decided that “students did not lose their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech when they stepped onto school property.” In order to justify the suppression of speech, the school officials must be able to prove that the conduct in question would ‘materially and substantially interfere’ with the operation of the school. Congress also stated that you do not ‘shed’ any rights in school that mess with your individuality and expression either. Every rule schools have made has had a reason behind it, even though some students believe that their individuality is stripped from them by a strict dress code, or maybe even a certain school etiquette. But a school dress code promotes a formal atmosphere and better behavior, and school etiquette can promote better manners and reduce fights. Are schools putting limits on your freedom of speech, or are schools justified in placing rules? At Powell High School are students rights to freedom of speech stripped from them?

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