SAM IS LEARNING ABOUT FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN HISTORY CLASS.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to free speech. This means that people can speak and write freely, expressing exactly what’s on their minds. Sam knows that not every country offers its citizens the same kinds of protections; in fact, people from other countries have come to the U.S. over the years so they could have this right, too.
Many people believe that is one of the most important rights given to American citizens. That’s why Sam is so surprised when the principal announces that students may be suspended if they participate in a walkout protesting violence in schools. The announcement gets Sam thinking about a new question: Does freedom of speech protect everyone, including students in school? Are there limits to freedom of speech?
Sam goes online and learns that there have been cases where students have gotten in trouble for protesting, or otherwise speaking out, while at school. In 1965, a group of students in Iowa were disciplined for wearing black armbands at school to protest the Vietnam War. The students sued their school district, and the Supreme Court ruled in the students’ favor in the 1969 decision Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. Sam also finds evidence that students held protests against segregation during the civil rights movement.
Freedom of speech is protected by the Constitution, but whose rights are being protected? Investigate the primary sources. What evidence can you find that the First Amendment protects a student’s freedom of speech in school? Make your case.
Have your students take this challenge and make their case! To begin, send your students to this website with this challenge’s code.
Freedom of speech is the right to express your opinions publicly without the government interfering. This right is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.