Make one original post, which must include a citation from at least one source.
APA citations are only required for the original post.
Some discussions are open-ended and do not require APA citation
Discussion PostClarifying the LinesAs we learned during this module, students do not give up their right to free speech at the schoolhouse gate, but schools must also ensure that the educational goals for all students are not compromised. Use the questions to guide an original response and comments on the posts of at least two classmates.
When have you experienced a situation that has blurred the line between student expression and school safety or discipline?
How did your school handle the situation?
If you have not experienced such a situation, find a case study, and describe how you/your school might react
Peer Response 1:
I have not yet experienced a case like this but I have found a case like this. High school coaches dismissed a cheerleader from the cheerleading squad due to tweets that had some profanity in them. The coaches said that the tweets violated the Cheerleading Constitution which prohibits inappropriate conduct on social media so she was kicked off of the team. The student sued alleging that her 1st amendment rights were violated. The coaches in the case pled qualified immunity. “A defense that protects government officials from liability unless they violated clearly established constitutional law principles” (Hudson, 2019). The courts agreed and even the appeal by the cheerleader failed as well. “The 5th Circuit reasoned that “regardless of whether M.L.’s rights were violated, the right at issue was not clearly established” (Hudson, 2019).
I know of many instances where kids post things online that are just not in good taste or could be considered bad. When I was a sixth grade teacher I saw videos of my students online. In one video a female student was posing with the middle finger up. I had another student who was online in a video cursing and just making a scene. If my school had been in that situation, I don’t believe that the behavior would have warranted kicking the girl off of the cheerleading team. If I was the administrator I probably would have just counseled the student on being careful about what they post online. I don’t see how posting something that someone else posted warrants you losing a spot on the cheerleading team. A cheerleader’s constitution should not usurp the constitution of the country. I believe my school would have reacted the same way. At my current school, this sort of behavior would have been sent to our school counselor to talk with the student. Our school counselor has had many discussions with the students at our school about being safe on social media. I don’t quite understand the qualified immunity either. I have heard about that for diplomats and people like that but I don’t see how that fits in this case. I believe it was a complete overreaction and something that should have just resulted in a conversation.
Hudson, D. (2019 November 14). Cheerleader loses student free speech case over tweets. The Free Speech Center. Cheerleader loses student free speech case over tweets | The Free Speech Center (mtsu.edu)
Peer Response 2:
The Tinker v. Des Moines court case proves that students do not give up their right to free speech at the schoolhouse gate (Lannacci, 2017). However, we as educators must ensure that the educational goals for all students are not compromised or negatively impacted by student expression. When I was in elementary school, school administration did not allow students to wear heavy metal t-shirts stating that it incited violence, sex, drug use and suicide. With Tipper Gore at the helm of what was cited then as the “War on Rock” along with several other prominent politician wives were responsible for the rating verbiage implemented in music, videos, and video games that we see today; “Parental Advisory” and “Explicit Language” (Schonfeld, 2016). The music industry at the time saw it as an infringement of their first amendment right; freedom of speech. Their goal was not to silence them but to implement a system in which to educate their consumers on what type of materials they would be purchasing for their kids. It was this system that helped schools and school districts guide their own dress code policies citing what students could and could not wear to school.
As an educator, I have not experienced many situations that I can recall that blurred the lines between student expression and school safety or discipline. There have been times where students were asked to change or sent home due to wearing something that was deemed inappropriate or insensitive. The only time that I have seen it escalate is when the students’ response was more defiant than compliant, and even then I have never witnessed the punishment more than a conference or mediation between student, administration and parents. Now, I am not naive enough to not believe that some of those instances when the situation escalated the teacher or administrator may have been to blame. It is important to remember that our job as educators and school leaders is to look at student situations objectively, and without bias, to identify the grey areas between student expression and school safety and discipline.
ReferencesLannacci, N. (2017). Tinker v. Des Moines:Protecting student free speech. National Constitution Center. https://consitutiuonceter.org/blog/tinker-v-vdes-moines-protecting-student-free-speech (Links to an external site.)?Schonfeld, Z. (2016, April 19). Parental advisory forever: An oral history of the PMRC’s war on Dirty Lyrics.
Newsweek. Retrieved October 10, 2021, from https://www.newsweek.com/2015/10/09/oral-history-tipper-gores-war-explicit-rock-lyrics-dee-snider-373103.html.
Peer Response 3:
When establishing priorities for the school it is important to refer to the school improvement plan first. What are the schools goals for the school year? What are the action steps listed in the school improvement plan to achieve these goals? Also, what percent of the funds are already allocated for state mandated requirements, such as parent engagement or professional development? These are all important things to consider before planning out the intended expenditures for the year. Working at a Title I school, it is also important to be sure that the purchases are reasonable, allowable, and necessary.
When the needs outweigh the available resources, our team starts to look at other ways to get necessary resources. For example, our school was purchasing binders for grades 3-5 to support the AVID initiative at our school. However, this can be an expensive expenditure. We decided to add the binder to the school supply list for parents to purchase and remove other items from that list that the grade levels felt that they could live without, such as headphones/ear buds. Many students have these items already. Also, we reached out to Title 9 and they were able to purchase binders for our homeless population. Additionally, our school had been purchasing t-shirts for students who reach a certain goal on the accelerated reader program. This started to be a huge expense, but the kids loved it and we did not want to discontinue it. We decided to ask our PTO if they would be willing to help us with this initiative and luckily they were. Sometimes you have to be creative with spending your allocation and sometimes you have to reach out to other sources. Most importantly though, you have to have a plan upfront before the school year begins. It is easier to not order binders than it is to tell an instructional support person that they no longer have a position. Planning ahead is critical.
Systems thinking can help assist in setting priorities because you are intentionally looking at the connection between all of the working parts. As Hassan et al. (2020) stated, “Systems Thinking is a holistic approach to better understanding of how the system elements interact with each other over time, the root-causes of system defects, and the right approach for a highly effective problem-solving intervention (strong leverage areas)” (p. 872). If school-based teams are looking at the data and the trends over time then they are able to see what defects are in the system and plan for intervention. For example, looking at district data, school data, and classroom data and trying to figure out where the weaknesses are. Once the team identifies the weaknesses, they can begin to look at ways to increase student achievement. This could reveal many things, such as the need for additional staff, additional resources, or possibly the reorganization of grade level teams. The school team has to decide what is going to have the most impact on reaching the intended goal(s).
Hassan, I., Obaid, F., Ahmed, R., Abdelrahman, L., Adam, S., Adam, O., Yousif, M. A., Mohammed, K.,