April 06, 2011

>Question of the Week: Right to Silence

>Can a teacher tell me to speak during class? What are my rights when I participate in the Day of Silence?

According to Lambda Legal, “Under the Constitution, public schools must respect students’ right to free speech. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, as well as the right to wear buttons or T-shirts expressing support for a cause…”

However, this right to free speech does not extend to classroom time. “If a teacher tells a student to answer a question during class, the student generally doesn’t have a constitutional right to refuse to answer.” We remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class.

Know your rights! Read The Freedom to Speak (Or Not) by Lambda Legal to learn about your legal rights to participate in the Day of Silence.

Report It! Are you experiencing resistance to your Day of Silence organizing or activities from your school administrators or faculty? If you are a student in a U.S. K-12 school and feel like your rights are not being respected, please click here to let us know!


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