Morality and Public School Speech: Balancing the Rights of Students, Parents, and Communities by ProQuest


The Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects a parent's right to supervise the education and upbringing of his child, including the right to teach certain subjects that the parent wants the child to learn, or to send the child to private school if the parent desires. However, allowing this right to give parents a freewheeling line-item veto over a school board's curricular choices is impractical and can lead to absurd results. Apart from constitutional constraints on state action, communities should be free to communicate their values through the public schools. Schools should be able to teach the community's preferred message on human sexuality, so long as they respect students' First Amendment right to speak in response to the school's message. Likewise, schools should be free to incorporate values into their curricula and libraries, so long as they respect applicable provisions of the Constitution.

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