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Resources for making Parkland a First Amendment teachable moment


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A Day of Special Programming Built Around Student First Amendment Rights

In response to the Parkland tragedy and the groundswell of student activism across the nation, we have scheduled three special events on MARCH 13, the day before a planned nationwide student walkout.   Q&A with Mary Beth Tinker (Live-streaming 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET) Youth rights advocate Mary Beth Tinker will join Newseum educators to discuss her landmark Supreme Court case on student speech and how it applies today. The hour-long presentation will be streamed live on and the Newseum's Facebook page, and will be made available shortly after as a recording on Students will be able to submit questions in advance or during the webcast via Twitter using the hashtag #my5freedoms. In 1965, Tinker, then a middle-school student, was punished for wearing a black armband to school to protest the Vietnam War. Watch Live  >   After-School Special: #my5freedoms (4:30-5:30 p.m. ET) We've created an opportunity for student journalists, student government members and other student leaders to have in-depth discussions about the issues and the upcoming walkouts and marches. RSVP to Webinar  >   #sschat: Today's Student Protests: A First Amendment Teachable Moment (7-8 p.m. ET) As school districts wrestle with whether to support student walkouts and political engagement, join us on Twitter to discuss how to make this time a teachable moment. Join the Conversation  >

Resources for Constructive Conversations

We devote the rest of our monthly newsletter to resources to help with discussions in the classroom amid talks of student walkouts and political engagement. Our free, nonpartisan resources look at: media literacy skills to help sort through the information noise; First Amendment freedoms, their role in a democracy, and their limits; examples of when young people have stood up for causes in the past; and tips for teaching controversial topics. (To access some of these resources, you must be signed into NewseumED; registration is free.)

Media Literacy Connections

There's a flurry of stories and social media posts surrounding student demands for improved school safety and new gun laws. Some are intended to sow discord or spread false allegations and misinformation. In this climate, how do you know what's accurate or credible? Use our extensive media literacy tools to help students evaluate sources, determine motive, and verify the information. Among them:

First Amendment in Action

Historical Connections

Today's Generation Z is not the first to raise their voices and demand change through protests. Examine how young people shaped history during the civil rights movement.

Tackling Controversial Topics

  • "From Provocative to Productive": This resource packet features techniques for leading conversations about "third-rail" subjects with students.
  • Case studies: Use our cases on White House pickets and Confederate flag displays to debate forms of protest and challenges to the First Amendment.
  • Quiz: Have students take our Buzzfeed-like quiz to discover their "freedom type" by answering timely questions on what liberties they'd sacrifice to keep our country safe. This is a good starting point for wider discussions on individual freedoms.

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EDClasses & Training

  • Religious Liberty for Students

    Students will be introduced to the principles that flow from the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment.

  • Religious Literacy for Students

    Students will be introduced to academically rigorous and constitutionally appropriate models for analyzing the role of religion in private and public life.

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