Resources For Teachers

Unit 5: Free Speech Rights in School



This unit asks students to consider the permissible restrictions schools can place on students’ freedom of speech, as they learn about the (fictional, but realistic) case of Davis v. Ann Arbor School Board. Students will either conduct a mock negotiation in which they will try to resolve a First Amendment-related conflict between a student and his public high school, or a mock argument in which they will argue for one side in front of a panel of student judges.

Unit Questions

  • How are students’ free speech rights protected in a public school environment?
  • To what extent can public school officials exercise discipline and control over a student’s speech without infringing on the First Amendment?
  • What role do negotiations play in the legal process and how can parties use negotiation to resolve conflict without trial?
  • How do court arguments work in the legal process?

Unit Materials

Teacher Overview

Lesson 1: Are schools permitted to limit students’ First Amendment freedom of speech?

Lesson 2: Under what circumstances may a school punish student speech?

Lesson 3: How does the law apply to our case?

Lesson 4: What are the key elements of negotiation?

Lesson 5: How can parties use negotiation to achieve the best solution?

Lesson 6: Is negotiation an effective tool in the legal process?

Lesson 7: What is a mock argument?

Lesson 8: How do I prepare for a mock argument?

Lesson 9: How do attorneys conduct oral arguments to advocate for their clients?