To most Americans, the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause is among the most sacred provisions of the Constitution. At first reading, it seems a broad guarantee of the right of citizens to speak their mind without limitation. But the jurisprudence on the clause shows that the law governing free speech is far from uncomplicated. The analysis is made more complex in the context of student speech due to a different set of standards governing the rights of students while they are under the care of their schools. S.J.W ex rel. Wilson v. Lee's Summit R-7 School District, a recent Eighth Circuit decision, outlines the intricacies of the legal rights of students when speaking out about their school environment. It also highlights the intricacies that the advent of the Internet has added to the issue. With the ability of students to speak through so many different mediums and in almost any location, the decision of whether to treat their speech as occurring inside or outside the schoolhouse gates becomes increasingly more involved with each technological advance.
Erin M. Leach,
From Keyboard to Schoolhouse: Student Speech in an Age of Pervasive Technology,
79 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol79/iss1/7