A Note to Private School Students

The First Amendment applies only to laws made by the government and its agencies; private schools are not covered. Therefore the administrators of a private school have, with some important exceptions, significant leeway in punishing even off-campus speech. Unfortunately, a detailed discussion of the rights of private school students is beyond the scope of this article. Additional information is available in the SPLC packet, Press Freedom and Private Schools, available from the SPLC, or on our Web site.

What category does your speech fall into?

School-Sponsored Speech* Takes place on campus* Financially supported by the school* Distributed on school grounds* Supervised by a faculty adviser or sponsor* The most regulated of all the categoriesNon-School-Sponsored Speech On Campus* Includes underground newspapers and other independently produced student works* Distributed on campus* Uses no school resources* School can only regulate how and when it is distributedNon-School-Sponsored Speech Off Campus* Includes underground newspa- pers, other independent student works and Web sites* Distribution is off school property* The least regulated of all three categories* The subject of this article