We high school and middle students in the United States lost a good chunk of our ability for free expression.
The case is described here, and is summarized like this:
A former high school student has lost his case in what is the US Supreme Court’s first major ruling on students’ free speech rights in almost 20 years.
What should we do? Should we all post banners like mine on our websites and myspace and facebook? Should we make t-shirts and all wear them to school the first day? What’s best?
Please leave a comment.
6/26, 5:45 pm
UPDATE: some suggestions from my Facebook Friends:
Is there a larger issue you can tie into? I get that this isn’t about Joseph Frederick’s silly sign but a much deeper issue – how do you get at that? Or do you need to tie it in to larger issues about speech, privacy, human rights, the bill of rights, etc.?
I think if you tie it together, you have a better shot of mobilizing, IMHO.
Freedom of speech cases have had some extraordinary rulings, although probably not in this SCOTUS.
I would encourage you to dig – ask the many legal minds at FDL or your librarian – for guidance on this and write to show how more perverse cases have been ruled on differently.
When you run for office, I’m coming down to America to help your campaign !!!
Cassie … keep an eye on anything the ACLU might plan – when my son was in high school and the Communications Decency Act was in play, the ACLU sued and won … and they needed a few under 18’s to represent the people affected and Kit was one http://www.aclu.org/privacy/speech/15499prs19960318.html
I’d contact them and see if they are doing anything similar – of course, it is difficult to do anything once SCOTUS has decided.
What is the larger issue? Perhaps reading Talk Left (link: http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/6/25/132410/220) post on the issue will help ya find the way. The comments in the thread are interesting :)
Hey Cassie…I think you start small while you do research. Make black armbands with the number 1 stenciled in white but crossed out with international symbol for no in red over the top (mourning the death of the First Amendment for youth). Find folks who think like you do about this SCOTUS decision and ask them to wear armbands in solidarity.
I’d like to recommend a book, The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell; it will help you understand how to get an idea to catch on like wildfire. For instance you’ll need to identify the “connectors” in your school who think like you, along with “mavens” or early adopters. Once they are on board, you need to have enough armbands or whatever else you decide on short notice.
Go for it. I know I’d help my kids if they decided to do this.
Excellent project! First Amendment issues are always good to examine and dramatize. Are any of your friends into street theater? What’s jumping into my mind right now is *Mime* (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mime_artist). Maybe two teens talking to each other and the mime prancing around them providing “commentary”?
But also, maybe turn it into a class project. Ask your social science teacher (You have one, don’t you?) or maybe the Speech coach on your debate team (does your school have one?) about your interest in First Amendment issues. Emphasize this as an educational issue, and you can probably get a sympathetic hearing. You can get the focus on things that your friends care about, exploring the boundaries of what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable.
Keep us informed about whatever you come up with!
A mime artist is someone who uses mime as a theatrical medium or as a performance art. In earlier times, in English, such a performer was referred to as a mummer. Miming is to be distinguished from silent comedy, in which the artist is a seamless character in a film or sketch.
Cassie, In addition to Raynes “connectors” suggestion. May I ask if you know a few friends in your school who cross the lines of friendship… with jocks or preppies or drama /artist types etc…
Any of those folks who are interested in taking action would be who you could rally for support first and they will bring more into the fold quickly.. don’t be afraid to ask, remember its really not about you…but the ideas.. so don’t get stuck on new ideas you don’t like.. if they arent good they will most likely fall flat soon enough.. BTW I ran for office at the ripe old age of 19… so no more of that 2032 malarkey! :)
Also.. select one two or three causes at first and narrow it down for clearer focus as soon as your first few friends join your motivation…jmho I have watched groups spread thin quickly… marathon not a sprint etc etc
You go girl!
How about GNOB hits for Jesusa?
Maybe I should elaborate on my suggestion of Mime and street theater. Here’s an idea for a 2-person show:
*One person wears a banner saying “First Amendment”
*Second person is a mime wearing a banner saying either Supreme Court or SCOTUS or maybe “School Official”.
The First Amendment person starts off talking (making a speech) normally, while the Mime stands nearby, looking relaxed and unconcerned. But then the First Amendment student starts to say things that are a bit edgy but not over the line. At each edgy comment, the Mime perks up, listens carefully (exaggerated poses leaning an ear towards the speaker, open hand near ear to hear better, face perked up in wide-eyed attention), and then as speaker starts crossing the line, the Mime gets increasingly agitated, wagging a”no, no, no!” finger silently at the speaker. This climaxes with the First Amendment student holding up a “Boxx Hits for Jesus” sign, at which the mime throws a conniption, racing around,jumping up and down, trying to cover up the sign or trying (silently, of course) to get the First Amendment student to put his sign away.
Of course this can be dramatised further at the climax (when the sign “Boxx hits for Jesus” is held up, 1-2 people with suits come charging in, take the sign away and throw it face down on the ground, or tear it up.
It can be a lot of fun to stage this kind of street theater, and the “plot” can be ad libbed, stretched, or cycled, depending on the audience. “Stretched” means you flirt with confrontation multiple times to engage people’s interest before springing the climax.
This provides the students with an opportunity to explore the idea of “what can I actually say, or what kinds of signs can I display, in public?”