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What is freedom of expression?
 
What rights to freedom of expression do students have?
 
What has the Supreme Court said about free expression?
 
May public schools impose dress codes and uniforms?
 
May a school punish a student for wearing Confederate flag attire?
 
Are political messages on students’ clothing protected?
 
Can students wear clothing with profanity?
 
May a public school official legally censor a school-sponsored publication, like a newspaper or yearbook?
 
May a public school legally censor an off-campus, 'underground' student publication?
 
May administrators remove controversial books from school library shelves?
 
What types of books are most subject to censorship?
 
Is speech on the Internet entitled to as much protection as speech in more traditional media?
 
Does it matter whether a student creates his cyberspeech at school?
 
May schools enforce speech codes on school grounds?
 
May a public school exclude certain student clubs or groups?
 
If a student creates his material at home, how can school officials possibly regulate it?
 
Can school officials restrict online expression because it contains offensive language?
 
Are public school students required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance?
 
May students pray or discuss religion in public schools?
 
May a student lead a prayer at graduation exercises?
 
 

It depends on the court and the context. If the student speech is deemed to be school-sponsored or endorsed by the school, the student prayer would violate the establishment clause. Some courts have determined that purely student-initiated speech would not run afoul of the establishment clause.

Two federal appeals court decisions show how the courts are divided on this issue.

In October 2000, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a First Amendment challenge brought by students in California who were denied the right to make a religious speech at graduation. The court determined that school district officials reasonably prevented the student’s religious speech to avoid violating the establishment clause. The court determined in Cole v. Oroville Union High School that even "if the graduation ceremony was a public or limited public forum, the District’s refusal to allow the students to deliver a sectarian speech or prayer as part of the graduation was necessary to avoid violating the Establishment Clause."

However, in May 2001, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to strike down a Florida school district policy allowing an elected student to deliver an unrestricted message at graduation. The court in Adler v. Duval County School Board determined that "it is impossible to say that … [the policy] on its face violates the Establishment Clause without effectively banning all religious speech at school graduations, not matter how private the message or how divorced the content of the message may be from any state review, let alone censorship."

 
 
Do students have to stand and remove their hats during the Pledge?
 
If I wear my hair long or dye it an unusual color, can I get in trouble at school?
 
Can students be forced to stand while other students recite the Pledge?
 
Can different rules about hair length apply in extracurricular activities and the regular school day?
 
What about the power of schools to control speech in the classroom?
 
How do schools resolve the tension between freedom of speech and the need for discipline and control?
 
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Last system update: Friday, July 25, 2008 | 08:35:21
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student expression issues >
Clothing, dress codes & uniforms
K-12 newspapers & yearbooks
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Cyberspeech
Book censorship
Hate speech & speech codes
Clubs
Pledge of Allegiance in public schools
Speaking out in school