Benjamin Franklin once said that “in
the absence ...
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
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.