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You Can’t Say That in School?!

Students debate court cases to learn how far First Amendment protections extend in public school, and why limits may be necessary.

Students discover how the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment apply in everyday life and in school. When are there limits and why? The landmark Supreme Court case of Tinker v. Des Moines serves as a basis to discuss how public school officials must balance students’ rights to free expression with the need to provide a safe learning environment. Students then discuss and debate other real-life court cases.
“I hadn't really focused on social media and First Amendment before. … Bringing the history and future of the First Amendment together in my classroom will be an interesting way to approach our studies.” Amy Denicore, teacher


Gallery Guide - You Can't Say That in School PDF DOC
Unit - You Can't Say That in School PDF DOC
Handouts - You Can't Say That in School PDF DOC

To request a large print or Braille version, call 202.292.6650.

Booking Information

This class requires a minimum of 15 students and a maximum of 36 students in the Learning Center classroom or 100 students in the Documentary Theater. Groups larger than class capacity will be assigned staggered class times based on your group’s window of availably. We appreciate hands-on assistance from chaperones when needed.

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How to register and enroll

Classes must be requested at least one week in advance. Please be advised that your preferred date may not be available, so have at least two dates in mind. We recommend arriving at the Newseum no later than 15 minutes before your scheduled class time.

Cancellation policy:

When a school fails to appear for its schedule Newseum class, it prevents other schools from using that slot. Please notify us at least one week in advance if you must cancel your reservation.

Accessibility Questions?

Assistance (e.g. ASL interpretation, assistive listening, description) for programs/tours can be arranged with at least seven business days’ notice. Please contact AccessUs at or by calling 202/292-6453.

  • Topic:
    Civil Rights
  • Theme:
    Civics and Citizenship
  • Level:
    Students | 7-12, university
  • Cost:
    Free; Newseum admission required
  • Duration:
    50 minutes
  • Days Offered:
    Mondays through Fridays
  • Times Offered:
    9:30 a.m. Learning Center
    10 a.m. Documentary Theater
    10:45 a.m. Learning Center
    11 a.m. Documentary Theater
    12 p.m. Documentary Theater
    12:15 p.m. Learning Center
    1 p.m. Documentary Theater
    1:30 p.m. Learning Center
  • Capacity:
    Max 36 in the Learning Center
    Max 100 in the Documentary Theater
  • Minimum Enrollment:
    15 participants
  • Grades:
    Middle School
    High School
    College & University
  • Format:
    At the Newseum

EDClasses & Training related to this class

  • Newseum Learning Center, Documentary Theater and/or Virtually

    First Amendment and Tinker

    Students learn about the ground-breaking Supreme Court case that protected student speech in public schools.

    This class is for:

    • Students
  • Newseum Learning Center and/or Documentary Theater

    You Can't Say That?!

    Students learn about restrictions to freedom of speech in public life, then debate court cases that determined when and why those limits apply.

    This class is for:

    • Students
  • Newseum Learning Center and/or Documentary Theater

    The EXPRESSway

    Celebrate freedom of expression in this semi-guided museum experience. This program combines individual exploration, hands-on interaction and customized keepsakes.

    This class is for:

    • Students
    • Professionals


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