Benjamin Franklin once said that “in the absence of the freedom of thought, there is nothing such as wisdom; as well as there is nothing such as public liberty in the absence of freedom of speech. According to Alexander, “the U.S. represents a society where people enjoy many freedoms and liberties (12).” Although most of the freedoms seem intrinsic to our lives, most of them have been earned by means of a lot of sacrifices as well as hard work. Of all the rights, the freedom of speech is probably the most cherished as well as the most controversial. The freedom of speech is amongst the rights that individuals living in a democratic society ought to possess. In most constitutions, this freedom is respected as well as guaranteed. Speech is a fundamental tool that is used in communicating one’s beliefs, thoughts, as well as ideas. Therefore, the freedom of speech should be followed in all the schools.
The freedom of speech is a major concern on high schools and colleges since the rights assert that the US citizens are entitled the right to express their viewpoints (Melkonian 15). In contrast, many schools have rules that point out to what can or cannot be said on the campus. Even though, students also possess the freedom of speech, upon entering the gate of the school, these liberties are removed owing to the rules and regulations adopted by individual schools. These rules ought to be put in place to protect students, as well as the school at length. However, many schools have gone to extreme levels to prevent students from expressing their views since they consider them as being harmful to other students. However, what is the essence of possessing the freedom of speech if students are not allowed to express one’s views?
In the setting of a public school, which is owned by the central government, students should be entitled to the freedom of speech, which is their right as United States citizens. They are comprehensively protected by the law which states “students in schools along with those who are not in school are recognized as ‘persons’ under the U.S. constitution. According to Melkonian (30), the suggestion that students are not adults and, as a result, does not encompass the rationality to use this right appropriately is not logical.
In the Tinker v. Des Moines, the verdict that was given was that the First Amendment is relevant to public schools as well as that the school administrators had to present reasons that are constitutionally valid for whatever regulation of speech that takes place in the classroom setting. However, during the Bethel v. Fraser case in 1986, the court made a ruling that educators did not breach the First Amendment right by means of censoring the subject matter of their speech (Melkonian 15). Therefore, it is worth reflecting on the question, are students defended by the First Amendment? Should they can write in relation to a controversial subject as freely as any other adult?
The First Amendment should protect students. It applies to every United States citizen. Under this First Amendment, there is provision of the following freedoms: speech, press, religion, right to assemble peacefully, as well as to petition the government. Haiman (5) defines freedom as the capacity to act as one pleases with no restrictions. The freedom of speech that is exercised “within reason” is not freedom of speech anymore. In public school systems, the line that is drawn between protecting the first amendment rights along with harmful expression has at many times been ill-defined. The freedom of speech is inculcated on the Bill of Rights, and it enables people to without restraint express their positions, with no fear of the consequences that may occur to them. This freedom entitles one to voice his or her views however they see fit (Melkonian 15).
Students must have equal rights as adults since censorship limits the ability of one to be creative. Alexander (3) asserts “it places restrictions on how students write concerning the subject, but as well in what they are writing about.” The effect of this is that they are discouraged to explore as well as debate on issues that are deemed “too controversial.” In this case, the limitation is placed on what a student opts to write about, for example, in an essay, or even in drawing a picture. There must be no constraints on the way in which students are capable of expressing themselves. In itself, creativity is the free structure of ideas.
The most disheartening thing is that many young people do not recognize the limitations that they live under. Baker (12) asserts that censorship refers to the control of both information and ideas that circulate in a society. Censorship sets boundaries that are not clear in relation to what is okay and what is not appropriate. It is evident that in schools, students are not permitted to use profanities as well as create images or articles touching on issues such as sex, violence, or gangs. However, many teachers do not realize that they can face suspension for considering something as unnecessary expression of one’s religion or sexual orientation. If a student adheres to school’s code of dressing, and for example, wears at T-shit that is written “Emma Is A Lesbian,” is it right for the school administration to ask the student to remove it? The answer is no! This is because the T-shirt does not express a message that is either offensive or disrespectful. It is worth noting that the school cannot engage legally in this sort of selective, content-based restraint of speech.
From the declaration of the Tinker v. Moines case, students do not get rid of their constitutional rights after going through the school gates. The ruling ought to be sufficient in making educators appreciate the fact that students also have rights, which are as well protected by the constitution. As a result, this freedom should fundamentally be recognized by all people and respected.
In conclusion, it is important for school administrations to respect the freedom of expression of students in schools. They should be able to know when they are crossing the line and infringing on this fundamental freedom. In schools, censorship is a violation of the First Amendment right of the students that place restraints on their creativity. Everyone, including students, have their views that do not substantially agree with that of another person. The freedom of speech is among the principles that the U.S. was established upon, and therefore, it ought to be recognized even in the school setting. The youngest voices in the society also have the right to be heard.
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