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Beyond the Schoolhouse Gate: Do Student First Amendment Rights Apply to Classroom Assignments?

Fifth Commonwealth Education Law Conference: Critical Issues In Education Law and Policy, p. 89, 2007

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

Leora Harpaz

Western New England University School of Law

Date Written: April 21, 2007

Abstract

While it has long been apparent that the First Amendment protection for freedom of expression limits the discretion of public school teachers and administrators, it has been assumed that those limitations do not constrain equally all aspects of a school's operation. One area that has seemed somewhat immune from First Amendment free speech oversight has been the pedagogic choices made by schools in defining their own educational objectives. Public schools have been permitted to select curricular materials for use in their classrooms and have been able to evaluate whether students have fulfilled course requirements without concern that they may be violating the free speech rights of their students. The cases discussed raise issues about the possibility of First Amendment review of school assignments that schools will ignore at their peril.

Keywords: first amendment, public schools, classroom asignments, free speech, constitutional law, education law

Suggested Citation

Harpaz, Leora, Beyond the Schoolhouse Gate: Do Student First Amendment Rights Apply to Classroom Assignments? (April 21, 2007). Fifth Commonwealth Education Law Conference: Critical Issues In Education Law and Policy, p. 89, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1972330

Leora Harpaz (Contact Author)

Western New England University School of Law ( email )

1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States

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