chapter  6
14 Pages

Censorship: Who Controls School Curriculum and Teaching Materials?

WithRichard Fossey

Students on the school newspaper staff sued the school district, claiming that the principal's censorship deprived them of their right to free speech under the First Amendment. The court acknowledged that school officials have the authority to regulate classroom speech, sanctioning the teacher for assigning an article that contains a vulgar word amounted to censorship that had the effect of chilling the teacher's First Amendment rights. With regard to disagreements between teachers and schools about teaching materials and curriculum, the courts usually support the school board's position. Academic freedom has been described as "the right of teachers to speak freely about their subjects, to experiment with new ideas, and to select appropriate teaching materials and methods". Parents are almost always unsuccessful in lawsuits aimed at removing teaching materials from the curriculum that school officials have chosen to use.