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Freedom of speech....sometimes? How do we explain and justify the levels of free speech when expressing ourselves?

Are there or should there be limits on what individuals can say and have protected under the "freedom of speech" amendment? If not, than anything goes--profanity in church, hate speeches, right? If not, where and when should there be limits set?
Here is why I ask. I have a student who called another teacher an a--hole and the student was suspended for the action. His response when questioned regarding the incident, "Don't I have the constitutional right to free speech?". Theoretically, he is correct. Our school district has a specific rule regarding disrespectful language, including but not limited to the use of profanity at or about another person while the student is on campus or involved in a school sponsered activity.
Is this district rule a constitutional violation? If not, shouldn't the same expectations for civil discourse be applied in political situations (local, state and national)? How free is free?


Asked by Anonymous at 8:15 PM on Sep. 25, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

This question is closed.
Answers (14)
  • Freedom of speech does not guarantee you freedom of repercussions from your speech. I'm perfectly allowed by the constitution to tell my boss he's an incompetent a hole, and I'm still gonna get fired If I do it.

    Answer by lovinangels at 9:27 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • yes everyone should have freedom of speech, and technically yes, by restricting what can be said it infringes upon that. but the student is just twisting that freedom to be disrespectful and start an argument over whether or not the rule stating disrespectful behavior is not acceptable is in violation of those rights. do i think it is, technically yes, however at the same time, students can't run around calling other students/teachers names especially using profanity. there is a time and a place for everything and in the classroom, church, middle of a 2 yr olds play date, not the place to express everything you believe in.

    Answer by vabchmommy at 8:22 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • I think that the first amendment is widely misinterpreted. Freedom of speech means that you can say what you want without fear of being persecuted by the law. While he may have the right to call the teacher an a--hole, his freedom of speech does not infringe of the right for the school to suspend him for it.


    Answer by geminishadow79 at 9:16 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • I think lovinangels said it perfectly.

    Answer by stacymomof2 at 9:36 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • Freedom of speech does not guarantee you freedom of repercussions from your speech. I'm perfectly allowed by the constitution to tell my boss he's an incompetent a hole, and I'm still gonna get fired If I do it.


    There are repercussions for your words....


    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 9:40 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • It is nice to see the P C & E moms agreee on something!! Add my agreement!!

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 9:44 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • You got it lovin...

    Answer by tnmomofive at 10:22 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • The difference is that students are not of legal age. They are not allowed to vote, sign a binding contract, sign for their own medical care, or be covered under the rights guaranteed in the Constitution until they reach legal age (voting at 18, contracts at age 21). The US Supreme Court has listen to and ruled on cases about free speech in schools. The district can restrict any speech they deem to be "distracting from the learning environment including but not limited to publications, signs, oral communications, and hand gestures". I agree with sweet-a-kins on this. Words have meanings, and you are held to those. Teach your children that you don't have to take back what you never said (or do detention, or in school suspension, or expulsion). Just choose your words carefully.

    Answer by jesse123456 at 10:24 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • I too agree with lovin....

    Answer by mancosmomma at 10:39 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • Freedom of Speech originates with the First Ammendment within the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was added to the constitution so that our forefathers would be more comfortable with the idea of uniting under the constitution, because they felt it would protect us from any impending "evil" in the government (that's a gross over-simplification, I know). That being said, the Bill of Rights protects us from our government; we have freedom of speech in a sense that we can speak out against our government and cannot be hindered by the government in doing so.

    However, our speech is more than legally able to be hindered in other areas. We cannot libel, slander or defame other individuals or they are able to take legal action against us. Our speech is limitted by agreeing to the TOS of websites that we use; we can only post the content within their guidelines (i.e. CM's TOS)..continued...

    Answer by NovemberLove at 10:44 PM on Sep. 25, 2009