Student Speech: Rights and Regulations – 6715
Are students’ private, off-campus Facebook posts and Tweets subject to public school discipline? To what extent are mandatory dress codes and uniform policies constitutional in public schools? How might school administrators balance student discipline, curriculum, and safety against Free Speech rights? Where should we draw the line? The course will focus on the role of law in solving (or exacerbating) modern day problems in the area of student speech. Assigned readings will cover topics including: online speech, off-campus speech, bullying and harassment, in loco parentis, true threats, student publications, student privacy rights, religious and political speech, dress code issues, and school discipline. A series of seminar guest speakers will help us better understand these issues. This course marks the Law School’s first student-initiated seminar. Law school students proposed the seminar topic, and collaborated in drafting the course syllabus and selecting weekly readings. Because of the student-led nature of the course, students will be expected to be active participants in weekly classroom discussions. It should be urgent, extraordinary circumstances that would cause a student to be absent from, or unprepared for, a weekly seminar session. Students will be required to draft a total of twenty pages of written work, including a final written research paper of 10 pages. Additionally, students will be encouraged to participate in drafting law and policy recommendations for presentation to the Minnesota State Legislature.