A Taste of Justice: 1st Amend. (24) Current 1st Amend. Conflicts-Students’ Position Statements 2021

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While the First amendment is short, there are many Court cases interpreting the amendment and many continuing debates. After taking an extended take home exam on all of the course material, my remote law students: selected a current First Amendment conflict that they had a strong position about; researched their topic; and wrote their own Student Position Statements where they applied the First Amendment to current First Amendment conflicts that we are now addressing as a nation in 2021. They are also making five minute presentations about their positions and responding to questions from classmates who may disagree with their position. We cover from 5 to 7 position statements per day. For each class, I summarize the presentations in a video presentation (but I do not identify the students to protect their privacy). In our second day of presentations, the students' position presentations were about student speech and balancing speech against other interests. Students took various positions including: that the First Amendment does not give schools authority to regulate off-campus student speech; that the Tinker Rule should not apply to off campus speech of students; that some school social media policies as to off campus speech, such as on sexting and cyberbullying, are permissible; that off campus student speech that encourages violence, bullying and harassment may be regulated by a school. Students also presented as related to balancing speech and other interests including: balancing free speech zones and safety on university campuses; balancing workplace policies and employers' rights with a cancel culture and speech. One student proposed that as to social media speech, an approach similar to that used for broadcast media should be adopted by the courts. Applying case law to argue their own positions AND considering the positions in opposition to their own is a further path to learning for my students. Remember, learning is a path to enlightenment and enlightenment to freedom, and freedom to justice. My goal here is to offer you a taste of learning about the First Amendment and hence, at least, a taste of justice.

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