A Civics Lesson

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  • April 5, 2017

Koski reviews Catherine J. Ross’s book, Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights, which argues that “ignorance about, indifference to, and disdain for the speech rights of students permeates society” and leads to “rampant constitutional violations that plague our schools.” Koski says the book is not only “a comprehensive and colorfully written treatment of the Court’s student speech jurisprudence, but it also reminds us that we must remain vigilant in our protection of free speech in the classroom and the courtroom.” He begins by summarizing the book and focusing on its contributions to First Amendment analysis, before probing Ross’s argument that “protection of all pure student speech, even that which is hurtful, insubordinate, and offensive, is essential to the school’s duty of modeling and transmitting the values of citizenship.” Koski generally assents to Ross’s arguments, but concludes in favor of adding “schoolwide practices aimed at creating a culture of positive behavior, tolerance, and respect through [schoolwide positive behavior intervention and supports, restorative practices], and social emotional learning.”

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