ERIC Number: ED207118
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Censorship in Public Schools.
Sneller, Angela K.
Attempts to control the content of curricula and of books in school libraries are increasing rapidly, bringing into focus the question of what rights students have to receive information and what rights a community has in determining what information is taught and available in its schools. There have been several cases concerning First Amendment rights of students and teachers. The one that is cited most often is "Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District," in which three students were suspended from high school for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. Although this case did not deal specifically with censorship of books, it set a precedent for students' rights that has been subsequently used in defense against the removal of books, in establishing curricula, and in censorship of school newspapers. The area of school authority and students' rights in deciding curricula is one of the grayest, especially in the courts. Courts appear to prefer not to intrude and often defer to school board expertise. The vague and contradictory rulings of the courts have probably contributed to the increase in the number of censorship cases by making the issue of academic freedom more vulnerable. There is also the increased concern by citizens that society has become too permissive, and that permissiveness is most apparent in the schools. With the burgeoning power of conservative pressure groups and the reluctance of the courts to clearly define the right to academic freedom, free expression finds itself in the most dangerous of situations since the McCarthy hearings on communism. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.