Are you a firm believer that students online speech should be limited or not limited? Students, parents, teachers, and administrators are all wondering if students should be punished for their actions on social media outside of school. It is noted that schools must maintain a safe learning environment but what do posts made online interfere with the actions at home.
When creating a social media account we are agreeing to the cite terms and aware with the consequences that may come along. It can be noted that cyberbullying is an issue in today’s society but we are also able to choose what we wish to see and also block or disregard things we dislike. In the K.K v. Berkeley County Schools case, the US court of Appeals it states “…There is surely a limit to the scope of a high school’s interest in the order, safety, and well being of its students when the speech at issue originates outside the schoolhouse gate”. This can demonstrate how it was beyond the schools’ control and how they still continued to attempt to manage the situation in which K.K won overall.
Another similar situation took place in the 1969 case of “Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District” where the supreme court ruled that students like the two involved Mary Beth and John Tinker have free speech rights that do not end once present on school grounds. Due to the rise in suicide attempts in which teens have been very near to close death experiences as a result school administrators feel entitled to punish those for their online activity despite the occurrence being outside of school hours. For example, in the ACLU Statement it is stated, “…We believe that any restriction specifically aimed at [limiting] the speech rights of [people under age 18] in the new electronic forum is a step in the wrong direction and not in keeping with the ideals of our constitutional framework”. By acting on situations outside of school we can be invading the first amendment of the individual in which we have no right to do so.
If any bullying or harassment took place at on the premises of any school they would have the ability to take initiative in how they would like the situation dealt with. Taking action on issues non school related goes against the individual’s first amendment right because it was done on his or hers own time. In the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District case, it can be inferred that the rights of a student should be respected by the school when dealing with situations involving their freedom of speech and expression. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit stated, “Under Tinker, therefore, the School District violated J.S.’s First Amendment free speech rights when it suspended her for creating the profile”. This shows how when schools are dealing with situations like or similar to the Tinker case they do not realize that they are interfering with their rights.
When attempting to act upon issues taking place outside of the school environment officials do not realize the big problem they are creating. Suspensions and consequences given to students for actions done outside of the premises invade the first amendment rights by not allowing them to express their freedom of speech and freedom of self expression. So I ask again are you a firm believer that students online speech should be limited or not?