Essay about Sociology: Supreme Court of the United States and Supreme Court

Submitted By Theodociajr1
Words: 1962
Pages: 8

John Milton was once quoted as saying, “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”(Goodreads 2010) Freedom of Speech serves as the foundation of the United States’ governmental policy, which, with the establishment of the First Amendment, guarantees every citizen liberty and freedom. The first amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”(Constitution 1971) This amendment is vital to democracy, because without freedom of speech all other rights serve no real purpose and the concept of freedom will be defeated.
The freedom of speech in both public and private schools has become an issue and over time school officials has been either trying to limit student’s freedom of speech or eliminate them all together. As a student, I personally feel that students should be allowed to express themselves in any way possible because we are still in the stage of forming our own opinions, lifestyles and ideologies. Also, as an American citizen, it is vital that we understand and use our freedom of speech since it is our natural right. Throughout history, this has been an issue mostly not because it offends other students but because school officials personally find it offensive.
When the Supreme Court first established freedom of speech the idea that a student felt that they had the right to express their freedom of speech in school was just a fig of the imagination. During that time period, school was considered a privilege and all students had to abide by the rules and regulations that were stated. Students did not express their feelings or opinions until the Vietnam War. Students had opinions on their views on the war and wanted them to be heard in any way possible. Teachers and higher officials felt that student’s opinions and views were unnecessary and probably had different views on the war. Basically, student’s opinions and views had no place in the school building. (McMasters, Paul, 2005)
Students wanted to be heard and for the first time in history a case was taken to the Supreme Court that made a landmark in history was Tinker V. Des Moines School district (1969). There had been cases prior to Tinker V. Des Moines School district over the first amendment but on different terms regarding religion. Tinker V. Des Moines School district, which caused an extreme controversy regarding Freedom of Speech. In 1965, a group of adults and students who were no older then 15 decided to publicize their objections to the hostilities in Vietnam and their support for a truce by fasting and wearing black armbands during the holiday season. The principle of the students who attended a public school felt that the armbands would cause a disturbance in school so he asked all armbands to be removed; if they were not removed, the student would face suspension. As the result, the Tinker children and some of their friends were suspended because they wore the armbands despite the principal’s commands. The Tinker’s and their friend’s parents took the case to a Federal District Court but the court told them to take it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court sided with the Tinkers. Seven of the Supreme Court Judges felt that wearing black armbands was “not substantially disruptive”(Fortas, 1969) with anything at school and “"either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." (Fortas, 1969) (Linder, Doug, 2010).
Another case that made it to the Supreme Court was Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier(1988). The case erupted because the principal of Hazelwood East High School took two articles from the school’s newspaper. He felt the articles were inappropriate because they talked