Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Shaming Kindergarteners? Channeling Dred Scott? Freedom of Expression Rights in Public Schools

41 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2007  

Harry G. Hutchison

Centre for the Study of Law & Public Policy at Oxford; Regent University - School of Law

Abstract

My thesis is that members of what might be called minority faiths that hold sincere but "divisive views" are likely to be placed at risk by language that reifies society's "progressive" interest in suppression through conciliation. This process is likely to expand when school hierarchs transmute judicial language and goals into operational dogma while raising the putatively omnipresent specter of division when they confront adherents to deeply-held religious faiths and diverse practices.

I consider the recently decided Baldwinsville case as well as the split among the United States Courts of Appeal. Although I provide some analysis of the facts, the District Court case and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals' holding, the primary purpose of this examination is not to provide extensive legal analysis, but to discover and set forth the terms of the debate particularly in the school setting itself. This investigation includes an excursion into the notion of evaluative neutrality, metaphysics, epistemology and the nature of liberal society. Regardless of the actual outcome of Baldwinsville or any similar case, I conclude it is highly doubtful that the prevailing terms of the debate can be seen to favor religious expression that reflects deeply held, as opposed to shallow, beliefs.

Keywords: first amendment, schools, freedom of expression

JEL Classification: K30

Suggested Citation

Hutchison, Harry G., Shaming Kindergarteners? Channeling Dred Scott? Freedom of Expression Rights in Public Schools. Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 56, No. 2, pp. 361-400, Winter 2007; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 07-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=977327

Harry G. Hutchison (Contact Author)

Centre for the Study of Law & Public Policy at Oxford

Belsyre Court, 57 Woodstock Road
Oxford 0X2 6HJ
United Kingdom

Regent University - School of Law ( email )

1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
70
Rank
280,065
Abstract Views
790