The Difference Between "Like" and "Agree"

Jayni D. - LLI Cleveland

Schools shouldn’t be able to discipline students based on what they like. Depending on who you are, “like” has a different definition. The First Amendment is supposed to protect “freedom of speech.” Depending on who you are, what other people say or “agree” with might not offend you. Just because you “like” a post doesn’t mean you “agree” with it. “Liking” a post means something different for everyone.

A “like” can represent multiple things and it doesn’t only have to mean you agree with a topic. “The Constitution doesn’t distinguish between ‘liking’ a candidate on Facebook and supporting him in a town meeting or public rally,” according to the ACLU’s Ben Wizner (Heather Kelly, CNN). This shows that just because you “like” someone’s post doesn’t mean you fully agree and support all of their views. Edgewood City School has a policy that states, “Students are also subject to discipline as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct that occurs off school property when the misbehavior adversely affects the educational process” (Ken Brown, Multimedia Journalist).

But ‘liking’ a post doesn’t affect the educational process because a ‘like’ isn’t threatening or harming to any students or teachers.

Principal Bill Summers of Cañon City High School believes that by liking a tweet, “you have added your name to a list of people who agree with it” (Sara Knuth, “Cañon City High School to discipline students for ‘liking’ tweet”). I would like to disagree with this statement and say that you can “like” a comment for various reasons. Some of these reasons can be that you think a comment is funny, to acknowledge that you’ve seen it, to report it to proper authorities, or to show that they appreciate their ignorance if the post is offensive. If you “like” a post, you still didn’t personally write it or create it so you shouldn’t be punished for someone else’s offensive or disrespectful words.


Sources Considered

  • Robbins, Ira P. "What is the Meaning of 'Like'?: The First Amendment Implications of Social-Media Expression." American University Washington College of Law Research Paper, vol. 7, issue 1, no. 2013-14, 2013, pp. 144-147.
  • Kelly, Heather. "U.S. Court Saying 'Liking' Something on Facebook is Free Speech." CNN. 19 Sept. 2013. 
  • "Students Suspended for 'Liking' Racist Instagram Posts Sue School." CBS Sacramento. CBS Interactive. 5 May 2017. 
  • Brown, Ken. "Middle School Student Suspended for 'Liking' Photo of Gun on Instagram." Fox 19 Now. WXIX. 5 May 2017. 
  • Knuth, Sara. "Cañon City High School to Discipline Students for 'Liking' Tweet." Education. The Daily Record. 13 Oct. 2016.
  • Walton, Xavier. "Over 20 NC Students Suspended for Liking Instagram Post." WCNC. 21 March 2017. 
  • Dinzeo, Maria. "Judge Wrestles with School's Handling of Racial Cyberbullying." Courthouse News Service. 27 July 2017.