Freedom of Speech in school A multi-media presentation about freedom of speech in schools

Thesis: While freedom of speech in schools can easily be abused, all students should have the right to express themselves freely.

Nothing but the Truth By AVI

Summary: "Nothing But The Truth" is about a boy named Phillip Malloy, a freshman at Harrison High school, and he hopes to make the school track team to follow his dad's footsteps. But, the school won’t allow him to join the team because he had a D in english (Mrs. Narwin’s class), so he started to act out in class, and he began to hum the national anthem; when he was supposed to be silent. He turns the small classroom prank into a national story.

Theme: People often abolish students rights in school, because they believe it will cause problems, but students should be able to express freely.

This relates to my chosen topic because Nothing but the Truth, is about a young boy whose school challenges his right of freedom of speech.

This novel addresses my research topic because Phillip Malloy, the “class clown” used to hum to the pledge of allegiance just to bother his teacher, but told his parents and a news reporter he was humming for patriotic reasons. He then brings student rights, and freedom of speech into his argument and turns the public against Mrs. Narwin for discrimination of his “god-given” rights to hum the national anthem.

Tinker vs. Des Moines (1969)
This is an example of when the court's decision went to the rights of the students.

Start: 1:31

End: 3:11

However...there were similar cases where students tried to express themselves freely in school where the court ruled against them.

Bethel School District vs. Fraser (1986)
This is an example of when the court sided with the school.

Bethel School District vs. Fraser (1986)- Mathew Fraser is a senior, and he is nominating his friend Jeff to be on the student council. He gets on the stage to give his speech, but his speech contains sexual (inappropriate) metaphors. The school deemed the sexual metaphors “inappropriate for school” and the principle immediately suspended him. Mathew’s case got taken to court, and the court sided with the school.

Court Ruling- the Warren Burger Court ruled that the suspension was valid and did not violate the first amendment. This was despite the decisions in the Tinker v. Des Moines case. this was a blow to students free speech rights.

Are students rights of freedom of speech the same in school and online?

This was written in the point of view of a secondary source, by David R. Wheeler. He introduced the technological perspective of freedom of speech into this argument. In his article Wheeler states,

“However, the Internet has since complicated the meaning of the ruling, and those same advocates now worry students’ rights to freedom of speech are again under attack. Schools regularly punish students for online comments, even if those comments are made away from school property and after school hours. Although some administrators target cyber-bullies, others punish students whose only offense is posting an online comment that the school doesn’t like.”-David R. wheeler

So, do student have the same rights of the 1st amendment (freedom of speech) in school and online? Also, do schools have the right to punish students for things students do after school hours and off school property?

There are numerous examples of schools punishing students for seemingly innocuous online activity. In 2012, after a Minnesota student wrote a Facebook post saying a hall monitor was “mean” to her, she was forced to turn over her Facebook password to school administrators in the presence of a sheriff’s deputy. The school made an out-of-court settlement with the student, who was represented by the ACLU. (American Civil Liberties Union)

EQ: How does learning information from multiple perspectives and genres influence your understanding of the topic?

Learning information from multiple perspective and genres influenced my understanding in a positive way. I was able to look at things from different points of view. For example, instead of just looking a court cases that ruled for the schools, I also looked at court cases that ruled for the students. Studying from each perspective, I was able to understand the essential question more clearly.

Works Cited

Project, Zinn Education. Tinker vs. Des Moines (1969). Digital image. The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <>.

Reuters, Thomas P. "Banned Books List." Findlaw. Thomas Reuters, 6 Apr. 2014. Web. 09 Jan. 2017.

Reuters, Thomsan P. "3. Rights, Responsibilities, and Free Speech." Rights and Responsibilities (1999): n. pag. FindLaw. Thomson Reuters, 6 May 2013. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

Reutors, Thomson P. "Ten Commonly Asked Questions on Student Rights." Findlaw. Time, 8 Oct. 2013. Web. 09 Jan. 2017.

Simpson, James B. Bethel School District vs. Fraser (1986). Digital image. TINKER V. DES MOINES THE CASE THAT PAVED THE WAY FOR STUDENT FREE SPEECH RIGHTS. Weebly, June 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <>.

Trotter, Andrew. Supreme Court Weighs "Bong Hits" Speech Case. Digital image. Education Week. Editorial Projects, 19 Mar. 2007. Web. 17 Jan. 2017. <>.

What Are Your Rights in School? Student Rights Explained. Dir. Heith Hughes. Perf. Keith Hughes. Youtube. Keith Hughes, 30 July 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <>.

Wheeler, David R. "Do Students Still Have Free Speech in School?" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 7 Apr. 2014. Web. 23 Jan. 2017. <>.


Created with images by kevin dooley - "School bus" • Unsplash - "american flag flag pole patriotic" • StartupStockPhotos - "student typing keyboard"

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