Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Adolescent Identity Versus the First Amendment: Sexuality and Speech Rights in the Public Schools

32 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2010 Last revised: 5 Dec 2012

Steven J. Macias

Southern Illinois University School of Law

Date Written: December 1, 2012

Abstract

This Article examines the legal tensions that currently exist between public schools’ attempts to protect gay students from bullying and harassment and antigay students’ First Amendment rights to engage in allegedly harassing speech. First, it looks at the popular conception of the relationship between childhood or adolescence and sexuality by considering the political and legal fallout of the same-sex marriage debate. Then this Article turns to a conception of public schooling that would allow for the constitutionally permissible regulation of antigay-identity speech. Next, through the use of critical theory, this Article explains why First Amendment defenses to gay harassment have such widespread appeal. Finally, this Article looks at the recent case law involving the so-called t-shirt wars and critiques the dominant legal approach that leaves gay students vulnerable to constitutionally sustained harassment within the confines of the public schools.

Keywords: sexuality, bullying, first amendment, free speech, hate speech, public schools, gay rights

Suggested Citation

Macias, Steven J., Adolescent Identity Versus the First Amendment: Sexuality and Speech Rights in the Public Schools (December 1, 2012). San Diego Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 3, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1659557 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1659557

Steven J. Macias (Contact Author)

Southern Illinois University School of Law ( email )

Lesar Law Building
Carbondale, IL 62901
United States
(618) 536-8464 (Phone)

Paper statistics

Downloads
38
Abstract Views
302