This year, three cases involving the distribution of religious material asked the courts to determine if student free speech can be censored by school officials who claim it violates the separation of church and state.
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction in September to prevent Shippensburg University from enforcing portions of its student conduct code that he said may violate the First Amendment.
In a nationwide telephone poll released in August, 1,000 adults were asked questions about corporate ownership of the media, journalists’ involvement in reporting on the war in Iraq and educating children about First Amendment freedoms.
While there is nothing new about students taunting and harassing other students, the introduction of the Internet to this tradition is causing some educators to establish school policies that punish students for off-campus speech.
A federal court ruled in September that a Michigan state law requiring public school districts to suspend or expel students who commit a “verbal assault” is unconstitutional.
At least that’s the way more than 540 schools and school districts across the nation are responding to ratemyteachers.com, a Web site that gives students a forum to voice their opinions about teachers.
In February, a U.S. district court judge denied the student journalists’ request to prohibit the school district from conducting further prior review of the Wooster Blade. However, the judge did recognize that the student newspaper had greater protection than provided by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood ruling because the school had opened the publication as a public forum for student expression.
For the second time in two years, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a law that punishes commercial Web site operators who make sexual material deemed “harmful” available online to minors younger than 17.
Erasing any uncertainty between the boundary of school authority and students’ right to free speech, two federal courts ruled this fall that schools cannot prohibit students from wearing controversial T-shirts.
This fall, while students reported the hard facts about underage drinking and anti-war sentiments, advisers at three high schools found themselves being used by administrators as scapegoats and excuses to censor the student press.