Letter From the Editor-in-Chief, Special Edition Freedom of Speech Coverage


Letter From the Editor-in-Chief, Nathan Miller

To the reader:

Welcome to The Echo’s special edition, freedom of speech coverage.

As stated in our policies, The Echo does not condone censorship. Freedom of speech and of the press are two civil liberties our staff value greatly, and in keeping with our goal of informing the student body, the editorial board has created content related to the First Amendment and how it impacts you as a student.

When a group of Des Moines high school students protested the Vietnam war with black armbands, their school demanded that they remove the bands. In the ensuing court case Tinker v. Des Moines, the United States Supreme Court ruled that students do not “shed their rights to freedom of speech… at the schoolhouse gate.” Those rights were limited by cases to come.

In the most recent piece of relevant jurisprudence, Morse v. Fredrick, Chief Justice John G. Roberts articulated this apparent dissonance: “The rights of students at school are not the same as the rights of adults in the community at large.”

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his dissenting opinion that “The First Amendment demands more, indeed, much more.”

The question of to what extent students can express their First Amendment rights at school is still grey, ill-defined, and developing. We hope that the next few pages will inform you about this topic and enable you to come to your own decision regarding freedom of speech in schools. Where’s the limit?

Graphic by Nathan Miller.

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