Law in the news; Freedom of expression for students
The National Educational ready o network presents a law in the news with Professor Joseph R. Julan associate dean of the University of Michigan Law School. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. This has been the unmistakable holding of this court for almost 50 years with these words and others we will examine the United States Supreme Court. Speaking to Mr Justice Porthos upheld the right of certain Iowa school children to wear black armbands to class this in defiance of a school regulation which barred this means of publicizing objections to the Vietnam War. Dissenting justice black rights in undisguised disgust. This case wholly without constitutional reasons in my judgment he says Subject all the public schools in the country to the whims and caprices of their loudest Mollett. But maybe not their brightest students. I for one am not fully persuaded that school pupils are wise
enough even with this court's expert help from Washington to run the twenty three thousand three hundred ninety school systems in our 50 states. Furthermore the dissenting justice continues. I deny that it has been the unmistakable holding of this court that students and teachers take with them into the schoolhouse constitutional right to freedom of speech or expression any more than they do when they enter the Congress or the Supreme Court. It is a myth. Justice Black says that any person has a constitutional right to say what he pleases where he pleases and when he pleases. Now some editorial comment has joined the Black dissent to the court's seeming expansion of the public school students freedom of expression. One respected editor puts it this way the liberties some students are taking with the freedoms they already have ought to indicate a move in the other direction. The editor continues what chance does a school have if it must prove that certain individuals were disruptive and that they infringed
upon the rights of other students before it seeks to lay down the law for Pete's sake by that time the campus riot is almost over. But is this armband decision so revolutionary so unbelievable in a day and age of campus and even high school disruption. Does it really provide a battle flag or should I say a battle cry for the irrational radical Bihi but one or two percent or less of the student population. I just don't think so. The Des Moines school authorities promulgated a regulation against the armed barons but not against any other symbol of political or controversial significance. Apparently out of fear of what might happen. But in our system undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression. Sustaining this fundamental proposition Mr. Justice Fortis seeks to make clear what the court is not doing as he puts it. The problem presented did not
relate to the regulation of the length of skirts or the type of clothing to hairstyle or deportment. It did not concern disruptive action or even group demonstrations. Rather the case before the court as the majority saw it involved direct primary First Amendment rights akin to pure speech. There was no evidence of the armband wearing students interfering or being about to interfere with the school's work or of collision with the rights of other students to be secure and to be let alone but weren't the school official acting so as to prevent the disruption which apparently they believe might occur. And if so did they not act as a reasonable man would under the circumstances. One of the circumstances being their obligation to maintain an environment suitable for uninterrupted learning by the students and teaching by the faculty not the other way around. Justice Black certainly thought so. In his descent he says the original idea of schools which I do not believe is yet abandoned as worthless or out of date was that children had not yet reached the point of
experience and wisdom which enabled them to teach all of their elders. Justice for does however holds and perhaps this is the paragraph which school officials everywhere should carefully note. And now I quote the law on the subject as laid down by the United States Supreme Court. In order for the state in the person of school officials to justify prohibition of a particular expression of opinion it must be able to show that its action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular view. Yes I'll agree the Supreme Court has sided with those who peaceably and in a non disruptive manner seek to express a point of view. And even if their students but it doesn't seem to me that's much of a revolution. Didn't someone once say out of the mouths of babes. PROFESSOR JOSEPH R. Julan associate dean of the University of Michigan Law School as presented law in the new recorded by the University of Michigan
- Law in the news
- Producing Organization
- University of Michigan
- National Association of Educational Broadcasters
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program discusses the rights of students to express themseves in the face of school regulations.
- Other Description
- This series focuses on current news stories that relate to the law.
- Broadcast Date
- Media type
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Speaker: Julin, Joseph R.
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-35a-404 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Law in the news; Freedom of expression for students,” 1969-03-19, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 22, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-69700x2m.
- MLA: “Law in the news; Freedom of expression for students.” 1969-03-19. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 22, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-69700x2m>.
- APA: Law in the news; Freedom of expression for students. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-69700x2m