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SOCIAL MEDIA: Free Speech Issues For Students

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The right to free speech is a bedrock principle of American society but the right to say what you want has its limits.

“That minimal level of constitutional protection was creeping onto our college campuses, largely un-noticed in a way that is rolling back the free-speech rights of college students,” says Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center.

Frank LoMonte spoke to Iowa high school students on Iowa State’s campus during First Amendment Week last week.

He says the Supreme Court’s Hazelwood decision is impacting college students’ free speech rights more, thanks to postings on social media.

Hazelwood was a landmark decision in 1988, where the court ruled that school officials can censor non-forum student newspapers when they can justify their decision by stating an educational purpose.

LoMonte says a series of court cases are siding with schools and universities when it comes to their ability to censor Twitter and Facebook for some students.

He says students need to have guidance when it comes to social media.