First Amendment Rights


First Amendment Rights Essay, Research Paper

When you get very angry at someone do you ever say things that you

truly don’t mean? For example, say your best friend stole your boyfriend from

you. A couple days later you wrote a note to one of your other friends and

said, “I hate Christi so much I just want to kill her.” and a teacher intercepted

it and read it. She then sent you to the office and you got in tons of trouble.

How would you react to this situation? Would you get angry that you got in

trouble for something you didn’t really mean? You have the freedom of

speech, or so you thought. the First Amendment guarantees US citizens the

right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and the

freedom to assemble and petition against the government. However, these

rights are not absolute. When these rights are pushed to the limit and begin to

interfere with other peoples First Amendment that’s when these rights are no

longer absolute. Nine students from a Miami, Florida high school were

arrested for distributing copies of an underground pamphlet called “The First

Amendment” on the high school’s grounds. The pamphlet contained

profanity, graphical sexual references, and racial and ethnic slurs. The police

were notified after the principal of the school, Timothy Dawson, got a hold of

the pamphlet. He was shocked and scared to see a cartoon picture of himself

with a dart through his head, and there was an article that talked about what it

would be like if the students were to kill him. Should the First Amendment

protect students who use profanity, ethnic and racial slurs while at school?

Should school officials be allowed to censor student writings and speech?

Should school officials be responsible for differentiating between real threats

and jokes?

The First Amendment should protect teenagers who use profanity at

school because high school students sometimes need to use a few swear

words here and there to express how they are feeling. Racial and Ethnic slurs

should be prohibited from schools. School is a place were students should

feel safe and unthreatened. Students should be restricted from certain topics

that make fun of one person’s ethnicity or nationality.

The same thing should go for student writings. Teens in high school

should be allowed to use a few swear words here and there in their stories but

when they begin to make fun of people’s ethnicity and nationality they are

crossing the line. If students could say whatever they wanted to say in their

writings there would be much more violence because people would get

offended. Teenagers in high school are at a point in their lives where they are

trying to figure out who they are. if they are forbidden to do so then they will

do it no matter what. Verbal and physical fights could develop if the teens

are censored completely.

School officials are at school to help prevent violence. They are there

to help students with problems. Should school officials be responsible for

differentiating between real threats and jokes? No, they shouldn’t be

responsible for diffentciating between jokes and serious threats. Most

students just joke around about certain topics but if a student is that

concerned about a threat that is when they should go talk to school officials.

School officials shouldn’t sit there and baby-sit students listening to every

word they say trying to tell the difference between threats and jokes. They

would be wasting a lot of time worrying about things like this.

Teenage students’ rights should be restricted to a certain point. They

should be allowed to say what they want as long as it’s not crossing the line of

where one persons rights ends and where the others begins. How important

is the First Amendment to you? How does it affect your life? How would

you react if you believed your First Amendment rights were being violated?

Would you respond conservatively, moderately or radically?


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