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Internet Speech and the First Amendment Rights of Public School Students

41 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2012  

Leora Harpaz

Western New England University School of Law

Date Written: January 16, 2012

Abstract

In exploring the range of the First Amendment issues raised by school efforts to discipline students for Internet activities, this Article first examines Supreme Court and lower court precedent involving student speech outside of the Internet context. It then looks at Beussink, the first reported decision to involve discipline of a student for Internet speech. It also discusses other Internet situations in which schools have sought to impose sanctions on students. In its final section, it applies free speech methodology to a range of Internet situations. This exploration identifies some situations where a school is free to control speech that it believes may harm the school environment and others where the free speech rights of students preclude school disciplinary action. For those situations where there is no clear answer as to whose rights are paramount, the Article cannot provide firm answers, but at least raises some of the critical questions.

Keywords: students, Internet, Beussink v. Woodland, Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, first Amendment, free speech, Constitutional Law, Education Law

Suggested Citation

Harpaz, Leora, Internet Speech and the First Amendment Rights of Public School Students (January 16, 2012). Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal, p.123, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1986170

Leora Harpaz (Contact Author)

Western New England University School of Law ( email )

1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States

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