A review and analysis of U.S. law concerning the First Amendment, students, and the Internet
Embry, James Duane
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The desire for freedom, especially in the realm of speech, is ancient and generally thought of as a prerequisite to many other human liberties. The understanding of what the government can regulate with relation to free speech has generally been a perplexing question. This is especially true in the public school setting where students, while they do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate, do have restrictions placed on them that limit some freedoms that would otherwise be unacceptable for adults. This study found that speech, especially in the public school setting, cannot be regulated unless it can be shown to create a substantial disruption to the functions of the school environment or will substantially disrupt the educational purpose of the institution. Even though the Court determined in Reno v. ACLU (1996) that the Internet is a unique mode of communication and is afforded more freedom of speech protection than other mediums, the basic ideas established in Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1968), Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser (1986), and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988) still apply.