Meeting Goals • Deepen working relationships within and across school teams; • Acquire skills andresources for use in institutionalizing school change; • Revisit and deepen understanding of First Amendment issues; • Share successes and work through struggles, both among and across leadership teams; • Plan for 2005-2006 school year.
Weekend Norms • Seek Understanding; • Support each other’s learning; • If you wonder it, ask it; • Make it safe to take risks; • Value our different perspectives.
The First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The Future of the First Amendment?Knight Foundation Survey – January 2005 • Nearly three-fourths of high school students say either they don't know how they feel about the First Amendment or they take it for granted. • Students (51%) are less likely than adults (80%) to think that people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions. • Most administrators say student learning about journalism is a priority for their school, but less than 1 in 5 think it is a high priority, and just under a third say it is not a priority at all.
How well do educators know the First Amendment? Can you name any of the specific rights that are guaranteed by the First Amendment? Freedom of the Press 22% Freedom of Speech 73% Freedom of Religion 25% Right to Petition 6% Right of Assembly 18% Don’t Know 19%
Do students in public schools have First Amendment rights? □ Yes □ No □ It depends
The First Amendment in Schools • 1791: “Congress shall make no law . . .” • 1908: Students suspended for poem critical of their teacher – “Such power is essential to the preservation of order, decency, decorum, and good government in the public schools.” • 1925: Gitlow v. New York – First Amendment applies to states via Fourteenth Amendment
The Fourteenth Amendment (1868) • Section 1 – No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Do the Rules Change for Teachers? And if so, how?
Teacher Rights & Responsibilities • Tinker (1969): “It can hardly be argued that either teachers or students shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” • Pickering (1968): “The problem in any case is to arrive at a balance between the interests of the teacher, as a citizen . . . And the interest of the State, as an employer.”
Is absolute neutrality on political matters necessary from a classroom teacher? □ Yes □ No □ It depends
Which of the following types of clothing are protected forms of student expression?
The Tinker StandardTinker v. Des Moines Independent School Dist. (1969) Student speech cannot be censored as long as it does not “materially disrupt class work or involve substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.”
The Fraser StandardBethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser (1986) Because school officials have an “interest in teaching students the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior,” they can censor student speech that is vulgar or indecent, even if it does not cause a “material or substantial disruption.”
“School officials are not required to wait until disorder or invasion occurs.” They merely need “the existence of facts which might reasonably lead school officials to forecast substantial disruption.” --Phillips v. Anderson School District, 1997 (South Carolina) “The plaintiffs wore the shirts to express a certain viewpoint and that viewpoint was easily ascertainable by an observer. . . . . [T]he school board enforced the dress code in an uneven and viewpoint-specific manner, thereby violating core values of the First Amendment. --Castorina v. Madison County School Board , 2001 (Kentucky) Split Opinions
The Three R’s • RIGHTS – Inalienable • RESPONSIBILITIES – Mutual • RESPECT – Unconditional
How Can Schools Be Both Free and Responsible? • Be proactive, not reactive. • Be authoritative, not authoritarian. • Stress that how we debate, not just what we debate, is critical.
A New Standard? Maintaining a school community of tolerance includes the tolerance of such viewpoints as expressed by ‘Straight Pride.’ . . . The Court does not disregard the laudable intention of Principal Babbitt to create a positive social and learning environment by his decision, however, the constitutional implications and the difficult but rewarding educational opportunity created by such diversity of viewpoint are equally as important and must prevail under the circumstances. Judge Donovan W. Frank Chambers v. Babbitt
The Power of Student Voice In 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters… I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream, and taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.