When Words Are the Weapons: Using Tinker, Bell, and Premises Liability to Keep Schools Safe in a Digital Age
44 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2017
Date Written: 2016
With Tinker nearing its golden anniversary, the Supreme Court has gifted the ruling with a possible continued relevance regarding its applicability in today’s off-campus student-speech world. As a result, both schools and lower courts continue to struggle with how to balance off-campus student speech with the problems it can cause on campus.
This Article suggests for the first time that much of the confusion can be eliminated by utilizing a framework for analyzing off-campus student speech based on the well-rooted doctrine of premises liability coupled with relevant portions of Tinker and Bell.
This approach calls for an emphasis based on the identity of the speech target. Such an approach not only ensures essential protections to student speech, but also safeguards the institution of education through protecting the most important aspects of the school environment: teachers and students.
Keywords: Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Com. Sch. Dist., First Amendment, Bell v. Itawamba County School Bd., Premises Liability, Student Speech, Off Campus, Free Speech
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