Recognizing the Legalities of the Issue

Recognizing the Legalities of the Issue
Student’s Name
Institutional Affiliation

Recognizing the Legalities of the Issue
Communication in school raises both old and new questions about students’ rights and responsibilities. Schools play a major role and an important duty to provide education for all students, while students are supposed to be responsible and follow reasonable rules and regulations in their school so that it becomes a safe environment and a welcoming place where each and every student is able to learn. However, students are also entitled to free speech right that all schools should respect and recognize (Dupre, 2009). All students are entitled to free speech, whether pointing out their opinions or expressing themselves through the Internet. In fact, with the current digital age, most people tend to communicate a lot through the Internet, either by writing e-mails, talking in chat rooms, or by posting blogs. However, every student is responsible for his or her actions especially if they affect others (Dupre, 2009).
According to the basics on the freedom of expression, congress makes no law abridging the freedom of speech; every person is allowed to speak freely, publish, or write on any topic and subject, and, at the same time, be responsible for the abuse of the same rights (Hall & Aimone, 2009). The U.S. constitution, thus, guarantees freedom of expression for everyone, including students. Students do not really part with their constitutional rights when they get into the school grounds. Whether a student wishes to comment on emerging school rules, teen pregnancy, school dropouts, gay rights, or the most recent national bulletins, students have the right to express their ideas freely, including the concepts that are controversial (Hall & Aimone, 2009). However, there are limits to what one is supposed to do. In a number of situations, speech may be limited or restricted in schools, even though it would be sheltered in the community out of the school.
For the school to restrict one’s speech or impose punishment and discipline, it must be having a good explanation and reason and to be certain that a student expression may invade or infringe other students’ rights, or disrupt the school when done at the wrong place and time (Hinchey, 2001). These may include students’ rights and responsibilities in the digital era, for instance, stimulating or promoting illegal drug use during school functions, or offering a sexually suggestive speech on school assembly. In other instances, schools also tend to limit controversial topics if they are sponsoring the speech, for example, when a school prints a newspaper (Hinchey, 2001). However, in most cases, teachers and the school administrators do not really prevent students from expressing their ideas just because the notion is controversial.
Moreover, in the United States, people have the right to speak anonymously, including online, and so do students. If a person seeks a court mandate for an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to reveal a student’s actual name that is interconnected to a screen-title, avatar, or supplementary online character, the student can go to court of law and seek to have the entreaty repudiated. Student’s ISP may entail a privacy strategy that articulates that if it acquires a request for identity, it should give some concepts to the student before providing the information, so that it is easy to challenge the request (Kaplan & Owings, 2009). It is also advisable for students to keep on checking their ISP privacy policy in order to view what it articulates, concerning provision of personal data about its users (Kaplan & Owings, 2009).
A student does not, however, have the right to engage in unlawful conduct when expressing his or her ideas online. This may include harassing others, since one’s right to make online comments anonymously is a fundamental right, and if not observed, then the students’ privacy may be tampered with, and the school may even seek to force one’s ISP to disclose his or her identity due to anonymous comments that may affect the entire learning institution or other students. When speech on profound subjects stirs passionate outlooks, the paramount reaction is generally more speech and not less (Kaplan & Owings, 2009). In aIDition, there are a number of limits on the freedom of speech, which apply to everyone. To start with, the constitutional right to freedom of expression in general does not refuge speech that is a factual threat, a defamatory statement, or obscene (Kaplan & Owings, 2009).
Whether a student is in school or not, online or in person, the right to speak freely does not defend speech that a sensible person would understand or interpret as a serious communication of one’s yearning, desire, or the ability to hurt or harm a fellow student. In cases of false personal attacks against other people or students, the right to free speech does not protect the students that harm the reputation of others with untrue accusations that one is well aware of, should have known, or false allegations written or said about others (Parker, 2002). The right to free speech does not protect students who utter speech that contains obscene language without thoughtful literary, artistic, inventive, radical, or scientific value.
When speech is focused towards youngsters, the legitimate explanation of obscenity is comprehensive. Courts have alleged that speech is obscene for students if it allures to their “immodest, appalling, or morbid attentiveness in sex,” is blatantly unpleasant with veneration to what is appropriate for youngsters, and is without abiding social significance for children (Parker, 2002). However, utter profanities confrontations, by themselves, are not “explicit,” in the legal explanation of the expression (Parker, 2002).
School systems are justifiably sensitive concerning provocative and insulting statements or anecdotes about violence. Factual threats are not sheltered inside or out of the school. For speech to be measured “real threat,” it must be a touch that a sound individual would understand as a severe expression of a purpose to damage his or her reputation (Hall & Aimone, 2009). When the school offers students an e-mail aIDress, it can enforce rubrics on its practice and use. For instance, it can oblige that the aIDress be employed only for school-allied purposes and can ban the use of the account in a manner that hampers another student’s education, for example, directing flames or bullying messages (Hall & Aimone, 2009). However, if the school does not apply to the policy of blocking speech that hampers its learning, it can also discipline students in cases where their writings disrupt activities in the school or infringe the rights of others (Hall & Aimone, 2009).
School officials may not censor or expurgate what is said in an e-mail just because they differ with the views or opinions. For instance, one may disapprove, criticize, or complain about a school rule, policy, or a school board’s act (Hinchey, 2001). Every student has the right to express his or her views freely on public matters, and doing this does not, in itself, hinder or interfere with the school’s learning objectives.
Schools may tend to lay reasonable limits when it comes to students’ freedom of speech through the Internet so as to maintain a good educational environment. The school may then prohibit any access to the Internet on any workstation, or it may restrict the use of school computers to access some Internet sites such as YouTube, using Gmail accounts or Facebook, if school administrators are certain that the access is disruptive to the school. The school may simply bar online undertakings in the class if the administrators believe that such happenings or actions, brought about by the right to free speech, disrupt school learning (Dupre, 2009). It is, therefore, appropriate for all students to check the school’s policy before they openly express what they feel, because sometimes, it might be a good thing, but said at the wrong time as well as place.
Students, however, have the right to express themselves outside the school. A school’s ability to manage students’ speech normally does not spread out to speech that takes place away from the campus or outside of a school environment (Dupre, 2009). The school may not also enforce rubrics for what students read online while at home or other places away from school. The school does not either have the authority to execute the punishment for an inscription or posting about a school-allied topic subject, or posting a view that school officials do not relish.
On the other hand, simply because students are away from campus, they are not allowed to utter just anything. They should know that federal laws make it unlawful to post threats of violence against a person, or to promote definite illegal actions, which may be punishable by the court of law (Dupre, 2009). Some administrators attempt to discipline students for off-campus speech that they believe to cause disruptive effects on school, for example, allegedly prying with classes or the aptitude of others to learn. Generally, courts provide that students cannot be disciplined for off-campus speech, yet schools may respond to speech that attaches the school with violent imagery. In different situations, schools can discipline or penalize students for speech that is probable to disturb school activities.

Dupre, A. P. (2009). Speaking up: The unintended costs of free speech in public schools. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Hall, H. L., & Aimone, L. (2009). High school journalism. New York: Rosen Pub.
Hinchey, P. H. (2001). Student rights: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara (Calif.): ABC-CLIO.
Kaplan, L. S., & Owings, W. A. (2009). American education: Building a common foundation. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Parker, W. (2002). Education for democracy: Contexts, curricula, assessments. Greenwich, Conn: Information Age.

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