First Amendment Rights and Its Effect on Education

First Amendment Rights and Its Effect on Education

I would like to shake things up and focus on student appearances and how it is affected by the First Amendment. One of the rights guaranteed to all individuals in the First Amendment is the freedom of speech which includes one’s own appearance. I know as a student growing up, there were times throughout my school experience when I had to wear uniforms and times when I did not have to wear uniforms. Some examples of student appearances include hairstyles, attires, dress codes, and student uniforms. As we look throughout history, fads come and go, including that of one’s own hairstyle. I just find it so demeaning to determine the length of what is acceptable hair length. In our book (McCarthy et al., 2014, p. 113-114) they mention that in the 1970’s the Supreme Court refused to hear cases regarding the matter of male hair length in school and various federal circuit courts came up with different legal policies. Why does it matter what students wear, as long as it is appropriate? Yes, I think that uniforms are great in that all students will appear more professional and put together. On the other hand, when students are wearing uniforms, the freedom of the students to freely express themselves in their attire is taken away. This issue relates to Annotation 6 (FindLaw, 2020) in that it mentions that all freeman have the right to freely share their sentiments before others and that to not allow such right would be to destroy the freedom of speech or expression. The only time to take away such freedom from students wearing their own attire is if it was mischievous, improper, or illegal.

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