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First Amendment Rights & Freedom

Know Your First Amendment Rights

If you feel your First Amendment rights or those of your children have been violated in the state of Ohio, it is important that you quickly take action. Public school teachers and administrators can limit freedom of speech in schools, but only under specific circumstances. Our Cleveland education law attorney has experience with issues of free speech for students and related subjects under education law.

Contact The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC now at (216) 533-9533 to request a no-cost consultation.

Do Students Have Freedom of Speech in Schools?

Several U.S. Supreme Court decisions definitively extend the rights of free speech to the public school environment. However, freedom of speech in schools can be curtailed for certain reasons. If a public school teacher, administrator or school board takes steps to curtail free speech, it must meet certain criteria.

The following must be true if First Amendment rights are violated in a school environment:

  • The decision must be based on valid facts.
  • The action must only limit speech based on concerns that it would seriously disrupt education or violate the rights of others, which includes prohibiting profanity and threats.

Communication must meet certain criteria to be considered threatening:

  • The threat must be clear and convincing.
  • School authorities must reasonably believe the communication expresses a threat that will be acted on.
  • The threat must engender fear in others.

The Internet & School Publications

Speech on the internet carries the same legal protections as newspapers and magazines, so constitutional freedoms extend to items written or posted by students on Facebook or other internet sites. Language that harasses other students or makes threats to the safety of others can be considered grounds for discipline or delinquency charges. If the student used school equipment or a school website to post his or her thoughts or expressions, the school may have more leeway to restrict that communication. Libel and slander laws apply to students in school as much as they do to adults.

Schools have almost complete control to censure or edit speech published in a sanctioned school newspaper. Magazines, leaflets, and newspapers produced independently by students enjoy protections similar to that of normal speech. Such a publication may usually be distributed so long as it does not disrupt education or school activities and is distributed within the parameters established by the school for the distribution of such periodicals.

Ensuring Schools Honor the Bill Of Rights for All

First Amendment rights cases in schools, especially those involving freedom of religion or speech, can prove to be tricky matters. Our Cleveland education law attorney is one of the most experienced and respected First Amendment rights attorneys in Ohio. We provide a no-cost, initial consultation at any time to students or parents facing such issue.

Contact Dan Margolis Today

Contact us now at (216) 533-9533 to start by scheduling an appointment.

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