Censorship In Schools Essay

1607 words - 7 pages

Censorship is “the restriction or removal of information, or the prevention of free expression” (Taylor 8). There are many things that can be censored such as books, movies, TV shows, newspapers, and the way people dress. People censor things for a number of reasons- they do not agree with it, find it offensive, or think that it is just inappropriate in general. Different people consider different things inappropriate, so the content of what is censored varies. Anyone can censor, including parents, teachers, school officials, and board members (Taylor 8-10) Many things are censored in schools and places where children are present because parents do not want their kids to be exposed to ...view middle of the document...

Reasons considered valid to censor are to teach hygiene, maintain discipline, keep peace, and avoid distraction during school (Truly 10). It gives parents peace of mind because their children are not exposed to any questionable content during the school day. It also can eliminate distractions. Things that are offensive, inappropriate, or threatening can be very distracting during school and could prevent students from learning.
One area of expression that can be censored by schools is the way students dress. Dress code is different for every school, but an approved dress code for every school includes no cleats, hats, or head wraps, and a school may enforce a uniform if they desire (Truly 15). In a case called Hines v. Caston School Corporation a fourth grader named Jimmy Hines was suspended for wearing an earring (Truly 12). It was against the school dress code for male students to wear earrings, but Hines did anyway. When he was told to take out his earring, he refused and as a result got suspended (Truly 12). Hines’ parents sued the school district because they felt that their son’s First Amendment rights had been violated. They felt that it was especially unfair because girls could wear earrings, but when boys wore them they were considered a gang sign and were not allowed. The court agreed with Hines’ case, but the school district provided an acceptable reason for the rule, so the court allowed the district to continue enforcing the rule (Truly 12-13). The school district claimed that they had the rule to “keep discipline and promote community standards” (Truly 10-13).
In a case called Guiles v. Marineau, a high school student named Zachary Guiles was told to cover up his shirt because it was inappropriate (Nguyen). The shirt had President Bush’s head on a chicken body, alcohol and drug references, and small print writing that criticized Bush (Nguyen). Guiles had worn the shirt multiple times before, but no one did anything until another student complained to a teacher, which shows that nobody else minded the shirt. After someone complained, Guiles was told to turn the shirt inside out or cover it up and he refused, so he was sent home (Nguyen). He returned to school the next day wearing the shirt again, but this time it had duct tape on parts of it that said “censored” (Nguyen). Guiles’ parents were angry that the school had treated their son this way, so they sued the school. The school claimed that anything a person wears is a distraction and unacceptable if it promotes dangerous or wrong activities. The U.S. District court for Vermont said that the censorship was appropriate because the images were offensive, but the Second Circuit Court disagreed and said that the shirt was not plainly offensive (Nguyen). The Second Circuit Court stated that since the shirt did not cause any immediate distractions, the censorship was unnecessary (Nguyen).
Schools not only censor what you wear, but what you can read. In a case...

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