Contributions

Does a school dis­trict vio­late the First Amend­ment when they ban stick­ers read­ing “Screw Hate, Don’t Dis­crim­i­nate,” and if so, how? Alec Web­ley (’16) exam­ines this ques­tion, pre­sent­ed at the 2015 Seigen­thaler First Amend­ment Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty. Supreme Court doc­trine rec­og­nizes that a school or edu­ca­tor may sup­press stu­dent speech – speech that, in oth­er con­texts, would receive First Amend­ment pro­tec­tions – that is “lewd,” and there­fore incon­sis­tent with a school’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion. This Con­tri­bu­tion cri­tiques this lewd­ness test as imper­mis­si­bly vague, con­tent-based, and over­broad, and pro­pos­es an alter­na­tive method through which schools could pro­duc­tive­ly address and sanc­tion “lewd” speech.