Student Initiated Speech • Any form of speech that was initiated by the student, not school sponsored. • Examples: • A student using profane language in the hall. • A student saying inappropriate language (which was not approved) in a speech during a school-sponsored event.
Student Initiated Speech • Genuine student initiated religious speech or prayer is protected unless: • School/teacher encourages, suggests, or requires the speech • Speech is done during a school sponsored event
DHS’s Handbook Addresses Student Initiated Speech Inappropriate and/or profane language will not be tolerated. Students using inappropriate language toward a teacher or any staff member may receive an out-of-school suspension. Any student referred to the office for inappropriate language at anytime will be subject to disciplinary action, such as an office detention or suspension.
Freedom of Speech/Expression In order to protect the educational process and school environment, printed material displayed, produced, or distributed on school property or at school sponsored activities, shall: • Not disrupt or threaten to disrupt the educational process of the school; • Not contain libelous or obscene language; • Not advocate illegal actions;
Not contain false statements or innuendoes that would subject any person to hatred, ridicule, contempt or injury of reputation; • Not advocate action that would endanger the health or safety of students, staff, or others; • Not invade the lawful rights of others, including protections against libelous or slanderous statements; and bear the names of the student(s) principally involved in the promotion of such material and, when applicable, the name of the sponsoring student organization or group.
The Board of Education shall assume no responsibility for the contents of any written material produced, posted, circulated or otherwise distributed by students. • Legal Reference: First Amendment to U.S. Constitution, Connecticut Constitution, Article First, Declaration of Rights, Sections 4,5 • Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969)
Public High School Student delivered a speech nominating a fellow student for a student elective office. • His speech was inappropriate – He referred to his candidate in terms of an elaborate, graphic, and explicit sexual metaphor. • Student was suspended and removed from the list of candidates to give a speech at the graduation. • Student’s father sued the school district. • The district court declared a violation of the 1st Amendment occurred. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed.