Friday, July 06, 2007

More thoughts on the Frederick decision

This one from Charles Haynes at The First Amendment Center. Most of the column is a rehash of the issues with Morse, but he closes with this gem, targeted at administrators who think the best way to control their schools is to control student speech:

From the conflicting accounts, I don’t know what actually happened at Frederick’s high school. But I do know that far too many schools mistakenly assume that the best way to maintain discipline is to control student expression. Draconian speech codes and censored school publications may create the appearance of order, but they breed alienation, distrust and rebellion.

It may seem counterintuitive, but students are far more likely to behave well in schools that take free speech seriously. Schools where students are given meaningful opportunities to express themselves – and to participate in decision-making about school rules – are schools where high school rebels like Joe Frederick have little or nothing to rebel against.

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