Skip Navigation
What Does Free Speech Look Like in School Header Image
Debate Comparison

Exercising Free Speech in Schools

Students attend school in order to learn and become good citizens of their communities. Sometimes these lessons and students' First Amendment rights come into conflict, like when Jehovah's Witnesses are required to salute the flag in the 1940s, or when a student is suspended for a banner in 2002.

This Debate Comparison is a part of the EDCollection:

Get even more great free content!

This content contains copyrighted material that requires a free NewseumED account.

Registration is fast, easy, and comes with 100% free access to our vast collection of videos, artifacts, interactive content, and more.

Sign Up

NewseumED is provided as a free educational resource and contains copyrighted material. Registration is required for full access. Signing up is simple and free.

or log in to your account

With a free NewseumED account, you can:

  • Watch timely and informative videos
  • Access expertly crafted lesson plans
  • Download an array of classroom resources
  • and much more!
60-90 minutes
  • Protests
  • Religious Liberty
  • Supreme Court
  • World War II
  • 7-12
  • College/University

You're Exploring Free Speech Essentials

What does free speech look like in school?

Young Students Salute U.S. Flag, 1943 teaser

1942: Protesting the Pledge

When West Virginia begins requiring students to participate in pledging allegiance to the flag in 1942, Gathie and Marie Barnett refuse for religious reasons, leading to a landmark Supreme Court decision.


2002: Making a Scene at a School Event

Joseph Frederick is suspended from school when he holds up a banner saying, "Bong Hits for Jesus" during a school-sponsored event in 2002, sparking new debate about student speech rights.

More from our EDCollections

Explore more content within this EDCollection, or browse through all of our Lesson Plans, Critical Debates, Themes, Exhibits, Digital Artifacts, Historical Events, Videos, and Interactives using our EDTool search.
Quick View
Keep in the loop!

Sign up for NewseumED updates and newsletter today.