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ERIC Number: EJ766811
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jan
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Balancing Safety and Free Speech
Hudson, David L., Jr.
Principal Leadership, v4 n5 p30-35 Jan 2004
According to Jay Worona, general counsel for the New York State School Board Association, "Balancing safety and student constitutional rights is not easy. It has to be a careful balance. School officials must be prudent and not overreact. But one part of the equation has to be paramount. And safety should be the primary concern" (personal communication, October 16, 2002). Some civil liberty advocates worry that recent school shootings have led to an unnecessary suppression of students' constitutional rights. They point to "Tinker v. DesMoines Independent Community School District" (1969), the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark student First Amendment decision, in which the Court wrote that "undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression" and that students do not lose their free-speech rights at the schoolhouse door. According to Worona, the theoretical discussion concerning the balance between safety and constitutional rights is beneficial and illuminating, but school administrators need practical guidance. He also stated that school administrators must look at the context of the speech, the student's record, and how the recipient feels. This article presents several cases that explains how courts have given school officials the benefit of the doubt. (Contains 4 online resources.)
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment