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Reflection – Chapter 6

Freedom of expression and associational rights are important rights accorded to citizens by the U.S. Constitution in the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. According to the First Amendment it states that “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” The Texas Constitution has a similar provision that ensures similar rights. Being able to speak freely from one’s conscience in good faith whether an educator or student in a school setting or off school grounds is a right that cannot be underestimated. Speaking with the freedom to be heard without fear of repercussions by others is a right that helps to ensure that oppressive government will be curtailed for the benefit of society at large. This right helps to ensure that tyranny of governing officials are kept in check.

There are many issues that this right touches on such as how far does this right extend in regarding ones expression that may negatively impact others, whether or not certain communications are open to teacher’s mailboxes by various organizations, freedom of speech among, freedom of religious expression and between school employees that do not interfere with the operation of the school, electronic communication and student’s rights of association. There are other concerns and issues also that relate to the freedom of expression and association not expressly mentioned here.

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In the case of Clark v. Dallas I.S.D., students Skyline High School sought to meet outside the school cafeteria to pray and read the Bible as well as to distribute religious material in front of the school building and as student’s exited the school bus (Walsh, Kimerer & Maniotis, 2010) the court upheld their rights to do so after the school sought to prohibit...
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