Freedom of Speech in Public Schools

Recommended Grade Level: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Teacher: Andrew Berang

General Description

Lesson Goal(s):
Students will understand how the complexity of freedom of speech in schools in the 21st century. 

Essential Question(s):
How has the first amendment been applied to free speech in public schools?

Lesson Plan:
  • Begin the lesson by having students independently respond to the “Freedom of Speech Questions.”
  • Share out and discuss the the students responses to the “Freedom of Speech Questions.”
  • Present students will an overview students the history of interpretation of freedom of speech in schools.
  • Have students complete page 5 of the packet entitled “The Exchange: Should students’ cyber speech be protected under the First Amendment?”  They will need pages 6 and 7 of the packet. These contain information about cases such as Tinker vs. Des Moines and Bethel vs. Frasier.
  • Discuss student responses to Student Worksheet 1-Censorship in schools
  • Have students complete pg 8 of packet “Student Worksheet 2-Developing an opinion”
  • Discuss the implications of social media and cyberspace and how it presents a new challenge for schools as well as the earlier decisions made by the Supreme Court
  • Have students read this article about the twitter incident at Bedford High School that discusses the implications of social media and the 1st amendment:
  • Discuss the article and hand students page 2 of “The Exchange packet” entitled “Should students’ cyber speech be protected under the first amendment”
  • Have students complete bubbles at bottom (arguments in favor of censorship/consequences and arguments in favor of free speech)

Assessment:
Students will write a three paragraph essay.  The essay should present a reasoned argument responding to the question: “Should students’ cyber speech be protected under the first amendment.”

Supporting Materials:
  • Freedom of Speech Questions
  • History of Interpretation of Freedom of Speech in Schools
  • The Exchange: Should students’ cyber speech be protected under the First Amendment?

Materials and Documents

Quote
I am ready to go back and teach my students about voting and the court system! Everything was GREAT!
- Teacher, 2016
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