Campus Speech | Protest

Are Student Walkouts Protected By the First Amendment?

High school students walkout
After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students around the country quickly began to protest gun violence. One way gaining much attention: student walkouts. School administrators have responded both positively and negatively to these demonstrations. Now various advocacy groups are calling for  a national walkout for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. March 14 in solidarity with the victims of the Florida tragedy. Are these protests protected by the First Amendment?

News & Updates

March 14, 2018: National School Walkout Spurs Students Across the Country

The New York Times provides live updates on the protests across the country.

New York Times>
March 1, 2018: Parents and Students Told to Know Their Rights During National School Walkout

USA Today And ACLU enumerated tips for parents and students as suspension threats loom over student walkouts.

USA Today>
February 28, 2018: Latest List of Student Walkout Participants Supported By School Administrators

The nationwide student movement against gun violence keeps growing as the planned March 14 walkout comes closer, and many school administrators across the country are working to make sure students can safely and peacefully participate.

Penn Live>
February 28, 2018: Arizona Middle School Walkout Leads to Suspensions

100 Ingleside Middle School students participated in a walkout protesting gun violence, about 40 took the protest off-campus and were suspended frustrating parents.

AZ Central>
February 22, 2018:  Texas Students Participating in “Political Protest” Face Suspension

History & Legal Cases

March 1, 2018: Author Catherine J. Ross Takes on The History of School Censorship

An excerpt from Catherine J. Ross’ Lessons in Censorship on First Amendment Watch offers a look at “the troubling and growing tendency of schools to clamp down on off-campus speech such as texting and sexting and reveals how well-intentioned measures to counter verbal bullying and hate speech may impinge on free speech. Throughout, Ross proposes ways to protect free expression without disrupting education.” Ross is a professor at George Washington University Law School where she specializes in constitutional law (with particular emphasis on the First Amendment), family law, and legal and policy issues concerning children.

First Amendment Watch>

Analysis & Opinion

February 23, 2018: To Walkout or Not?

Newseum Institute’s First Amendment experts, Gene Policinski and Lata Nott, discuss whether or not school walkouts are protected by the First Amendment.

First Amendment Watch>
Discussing Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District and Morse v. Frederick

Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Anthony M. Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor and students discuss students’ free speech rights in this video.

Annenberg Video>