Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Public Schools Could Hamper Free Speech Rights of Students off Campus

I received the following e-mail from Liberty Counsel this morning:

February 20, 2007

Supreme Court Could Extend the Reach of
Public Schools into Private Life

Today Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could affect the free speech rights of all public school students while they are away from campus.

If the Supreme Court rules the wrong way, then government-funded educational institutions could legally punish students for expressing their personal beliefs off campus. This could mean the abolition of free speech for public school students. A school could ban students from appearing at public events to express views that school officials oppose. One likely scenario would be for a school to silence students expressing views favoring traditional marriage. Students would essentially give up their right to freedom of speech by enrolling in a public school.

Pray that the Supreme Court does not choose to muzzle students from expressing their ideas while off campus. The effect would be chilling and the First Amendment would become nothing more than a hollow shell.

This is a huge concern. While the number of godly students in the public school system is dwindling, this could largely effect many of them, who are open in talking about their faith in Christ, and preaching the gospel to the lost and perishing, as well as taking a stand for traditional, Christian values in the public square. Perhaps more Christian parents will realize what an ungodly place public schools are, and consider pulling their children out and schooling them themselves, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.


Jay Rogers said...

Matt Staver is seriously wrong here.

Free speech ought not extend to blasphemy or defamatory speech in the public square. Furthermore, schools ought to be able to discipline however they choose.

The problem here is that we've extended the term "public" education to a taxpayer supported government run monopoly.

The monopoly simply needs to be defunded. That would solve this case.

Let's say you were part of a church and some of your members attended a parade with a banner blaspheming Jesus. Can your church then excommunicate the blasphemers? Of course!

Can a private Christian school expel a student who is a professing satanist? Of course!

What about a private business? Can a business fire an employee for ethical and moral corrruption in private life? Can a boss fire an adulterous employee? Of course!

So why can't a school suspend a student for 10 days for deviant behavior? It can and should.

Matt Staver argues that since it is a "public school" the right to free speech in "private" life supercedes the school's right to discipline.

Schools have a right to discipline students just as churches, private businesses and clubs have a right to expel their members.

The so-called "public" nature of government education is not really public at all. What we have is a privately run government monopoly.

We pay these students' tuition through our taxes. When families take on this responsibilty themselves the nature of "public" schools will change.

A school should be able to discipline whoever they want -- however they want -- but the federal government has a stranglehold on "public" education -- a title that ought to be shared by competing private and Christian schools. That way, these suspended students could take their banner and their tuition money to any school that would allow this rebellious behavior.

Mary Jo said...


Those are very interesting thoughts! Everything you said makes sense; I guess when I read it my initial reaction was that they are unlikely to punish kids who blaspheme, and do wicked things, but more likely to punish the kids who are actively speaking out against issues liberals are all for (abortion, sodomy, etc). I guess we'll have to wait and see how the case plays out.

I certainly agree that the public school system is a government monopoly, and I think it's incredibly unfortunate that tax dollars fund the garbage they teach American students. If it was up to me (which it, of course, never will be), the whole system, the DOE, all that, would just be shut down, and all education would be 'private.' But alas...

Thanks for commenting...I really appreciate what you had to say. I think I'll post it on the blog! :)

-Mary Jo