Assessment Of The Rights Of Students To Freedom Of Expression

Among many areas in public schools, clothing and dress code is one of the most controversial topics for many students, teachers, and parents alike. The Courts realize that the way a student presents themselves in their dress patterns can be a means of expression implicating the First Amendment.  Due to the rule governing student dress codes under the First Amendment, more schools have turned to mandatory uniforms. This has caused the First Amendment in itself to become all too confusing. This also poses the fact that the Supreme Court has never decided a dress code case. Many of the federal courts have made decisions based on dress code as constitutional. But, these courts have acknowledged the rights of the students to freely protest this policy only if they are not being disruptive to those around them. Under the Tinker standard, (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District), schools restrictions on attire are evaluated. In the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District case, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the constitutional rights of students in public schools. Through this ruling, public schools can implement rules involving a student’s attire in order to avoid material and substantial disruption.

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