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Freedom Of Expression

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Freedom of Expression:

All people in the United States are guaranteed this right by the Constitution. Students, however, do not have this right to the same extent as adults. This is because public schools are required to protect all students at the school. The major aspects of this right are speech and dress. Both the right to speech and dress are not absolute in public high schools. According to the American Civil Liberties Union: "You (students) have a right to express your opinions as long as you do so in a way that doesn't 'materially and substantially' dirsupt classes or other school activities. If you hold a protest on the school steps and block the entrance to the building, school officials can stop you. They can probably also stop you from using language they think is 'vulgar or indecent'("Ask Sybil Libert" ACLU 1998). Public schools can also restrict student dress. In 1987 in Harper v. Edgewood Board of Education the court upheld "a dress regulation that required students to 'dress in conformity wit hthe accepted standards of the community'"(Whalen 72). This means that schools can restrict clothing with vulgarities and such, but they cannot restrict religious clothing: "School officials must accommodate

student's religious beliefs by permitting the wearing of religious clothing when such clothing must be worn during the school day as a part of the student's religious practice"(Whalen 78).

Back to Student Rights in Public High School:

Bibliography:

Religious Freedom:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The right to freedom of religion includes the right to be free from religion: "Public schools are run by the government. Therefore, they must obey the First Amendment. This means that they can teach about the influences of religion in history, literature, and philosophy- they can't promote religious beliefs or practices as a part of the curriculum...Also, students can be excused from some school activities if they conflict with their religious beliefs" ("Ask Sybil Liberty" 1998). The issue of religion has also been brought up in regards to prayer and graduation. In 1992, the United States Supreme Court in Lee v. Weisman stated, "The First Amendment's Religion Clauses mean that religious beliefs and religious expression are too precious to be either proscribed or prescribed by the State" (Harrison and Gilbert 161). The court held that prayers at public high school graduations are unconstitutional. However, students can pray and have prayer groups at school if the groups are not sponsored or endorsed by school officials.

Fair Treatment and Equality in Education:

All students

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