Today, we filed an amicus brief in the Sixth Circuit, in a lawsuit challenging Olentangy Local School District’s student speech policies. 2 of the policies allow the schools too much power to restrict students’ constitutionally protected speech—even on the students’ own time.
One of the policies expressly prohibits “derogatory” jokes. The other--which limits the material kids can transmit online not only in school, but also outside of it--forbids embarrassing comments or disparaging others based on certain characteristics, including political beliefs.
Under these guidelines, students couldn’t make a joke, or even offer some opinions, about men, girls, elderly people, kids, atheists, or Democrats or Republicans.
The school district’s policies violate the First Amendment.
Schools have a responsibility to foster safe learning environments, but young people have a right to express themselves, free from censorship. Students need the freedom to develop their own ideas & learn how to engage with classmates, including those with whom they disagree.
To all Ohioans – We see you and we will keep fighting to protect your First Amendment rights.
You can read the brief below.