April 8, 2010
>Silence in the Classroom
>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 doesn’t 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.
Check out this document for more legal questions about the Day of Silence. If you have more questions about your rights during the Day of Silence, go to www.lambdalegal.org/help for more information. During the Day of Silence, if you feel your rights are being denied, you can call:
Lambda Legal Help Desk
212-809-8585 or 866-542-8336.