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School limits to expression

Expression is perhaps the most valued and exercised freedom of all Americans, and can be seen everywhere, in art, literature, poetry, clothing, music and protesting, throughout history.

America was founded by people fleeing countries that suppressed their freedom to religious and spiritual expression, and Americans’ desires to utilize their right to expression continues today.

Americans in general have enjoyed a freedom of expression unequaled by most other countries. However, this right has been reduced severely and constantly throughout our history.



America has fallen into a trend of suppressing the public freedom of expression in times of high tension or war – a variety of local and federal laws have been passed during WWI and WWII, the red scare and Cold War. Most recently, there is the Patriot Act in the wake of the war on terror. When a clear and present danger is presented to the established government, expression has taken a backseat throughout history.

This not only applied to federal government, but takes place on a much smaller scale as well.



Those pretty red school-supplied planners floating around SSHS are full of limitations of the student body’s right to expression. The dress code prohibits inappropriate and distracting clothing, guidelines and policies further limit a students’ ability to express him or herself in school. Teachers’ grading policies and guidelines also limit the scope of student’s expression within the classroom.

To remain true to the aforementioned trend, there would have to be a ‘danger’ presented to the administration by the students’ unlimited expression. The threat is the lack of a structured, educational atmosphere. This would logically limit the quality and quantity of education provided by the administration. Thus the limitation of an individual student’s expression seeks justification in the benefits to the whole student body.

Could there be justification in the many limitations pursued in times of high tension and war? Justified or not, governments continually claim the limitations were for the safety and good of society in general; in this case, the 600-plus students attending Steamboat schools.


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