JLF Triangle Blog

Status Of Free Speech Rights Of Students

From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) comes a brief summary of how U.S. courts are viewing the exercise of free speech by students. Yesterday a U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a decision that prevented a school district from punishing two brothers whose website evidently posted ugly, insulting things about students at their school. The blog goes over many court rulings and gives this bottom line for the brothers at the heart of the case:

The unfortunate circuit split in this area of law leaves students with vastly disparate First Amendment protections across the country. Unfortunately for the Wilsons, it looks as if their First Amendment rights are not going to be vindicated by the courts. They still have the opportunity to have the Eighth Circuit review their caseĀ en banc, but that is not likely.

This is a fascinating area of law, and with the explosion of technology, it is one that will only grow more critical for those who seek to protect the right to free speech, even when the speech is vile, insulting, and rejected by civil society.

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