The purpose of this paper is to discuss public school districts' limits on "hate" speech and
reconcile those limits with the decision in Tinker v. Des Moines.
Importance to Education
To avoid disturbance and disruption and to create and maintain a safe learning environment, public schools often adopt policies that forbid certain acts on the part of students. Included in many of these policies are prohibitions on hate speech. The opinion of the court in Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) broadly stated that students retain their first amendment rights when they enter the school, but the breadth of that statement is not without limit. Schools may narrowly curtail free speech rights to the extent necessary to maintain good order and prevent distractions and disturbances in the school. (Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969, p. 514)
The Seattle School District has adopted prohibitions against hate speech in its Code of
Prohibited Conduct. One of the groups impliedly protected by the district's policy are gays and
lesbians. Does the district's policy infringe upon a student's right to criticize homosexuals on
moral or religious grounds? Two recent opinions from separate federal circuits offer conflicting
Identification of Duties and Responsibilities
School districts and schools set general policy regarding the curriculum and the general conduct of students and teachers in schools. School administrators, staff and teachers are required to follow and enforce appropriately the district and school policies.
Teachers are sometimes caught in between the school authority, their students, and families. Teachers' curriculum choices can require students to delve into sensitive or controversial areas, often creating conflict.
Students attend schools for academic learning and socialization to function as a citizen in a pluralistic society, while trying to survive huge emotional and physical changes.
Parents and families bridge... [continues]
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(2007, 11). Search and Seizure in Public Schools. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 11, 2007, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Search-Seizure-Public-Schools-126353.html
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