The articles posted on this blog are authored by high-school-student-members of the Law and Leadership Institute. Nothing on this blog should be interpreted as legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the student-authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Law and Leadership Institute. 

Student Expression as Art: Exploring the limits to online, off-campus speech when speech is art - or is it? 

What if this weekend you wrote a rap song, performed it, and posted it online - only to be suspended when your returned for school on Monday?

Was your freedom of speech violated? Should your school be able to discipline you for your off-campus speech - your rap lyrics?

What if it were a painting instead? Would that affect your freedom of speech rights more? Less? Is rap truly an art form worthy of protection?

Does art, or should art, get additional freedom of speech protections in a school or school-related setting? 


Student Expression as Bullying:  Exploring the limits to online, off-campus speech when it is hurtful to others. Is protecting freedom of speech more important than ensuring decency among students? 

Generally, the government should not be policing the message of the speaker. But despite that schools act as arms of the government, shouldn't they step in to regulate student speech when it hurts other students? But what if the speech technically occurs off-campus online? 

Where is the line? If schools can discipline based on some off-campus student speech it deems harmful, what else could a school deem harmful and forbid? What is the most important interest to protect? 


Student Expression as "Liking" Social Media Posts:  Is a "like" speech? If so, can you be disciplined for what you "like" online, off-campus?

Social media connects us with others, but for what purpose if not to support, monitor, and respond to the thoughts of others online. We "like" we "heart" we "re-tweet" - is this "speech" that qualifies for protection under the First Amendment? Should it be? If it is speech, should schools be able to discipline students for clicking a heart of thumbs up alone?

Or, are these "likes" something different? Are "likes" truly the equivalent of writing "yes, I agree" or "I support this" or is their meaning ambiguous? Does it simply indicate interest?  Should schools be able to discipline students for their interests or things they support online off school grounds?