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Student Speech: Whose Speech is it Anyway and Why Does the First Amendment Care?

Sixth Commonwealth Education Law Conference Law Conference: Critical Issues in Education Law and Policy , p.69, 2008

6 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2011 Last revised: 28 Dec 2011

Leora Harpaz

Western New England University School of Law

Date Written: December 14, 2008

Abstract

A key feature of First Amendment speech analysis in the public schools focuses on speaker identity. Speaker identity can play a crucial role in designing the First Amendment landscape on a variety of issues including the right of speakers to gain access to public school forums for expression, the right of student editors to control the content of school-sponsored publications, and the right of school administrators to permit religious speech in the public school setting. Courts faced with decisions about whether speech in the public school setting is private or government speech must consider the context in which the speech occurs to make this crucial characterization. This fact specific inquiry often turns on subtle distinctions in who initiates the speech and the relationship of the speech to school-approved content or school-sponsored activities.

Keywords: public schools, speech, first amendment, speaker identity, constitutional law, education law

Suggested Citation

Harpaz, Leora, Student Speech: Whose Speech is it Anyway and Why Does the First Amendment Care? (December 14, 2008). Sixth Commonwealth Education Law Conference Law Conference: Critical Issues in Education Law and Policy , p.69, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1972270

Leora Harpaz (Contact Author)

Western New England University School of Law ( email )

1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States

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