During the colonial era, private schools and tutors offered the only educational opportunities for children, and teachers managed classrooms with an iron hand. R. Butts & L. Cremin, A History of Education in American Culture 121, 123 (1953) (hereinafter Butts). Public schooling arose, in part, as a way to educate those too poor to afford private schools. See Kaestle & Vinovskis, From Apron Strings to ABCs: Parents, Children, and Schooling in Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts, 84 Am. J. Sociology S39, S49 (Supp. 1978). Because public schools were initially created as substitutes for private schools, when States developed public education systems in the early 1800’s, no one doubted the government’s ability to educate and discipline children as private schools did. Like their private counterparts, early public schools were not places for freewheeling debates or exploration of competing ideas. Rather, teachers instilled “a core of common values” in students and taught them self-control. Reese 23; A. Potter & G. Emerson, The School and the Schoolmaster: A Manual 125 (1843) (“By its discipline it contributes, insensibly, to generate a spirit of subordination to lawful authority, a power of self-control, and a habit of postponing present indulgence to a greater future good …”); D. Parkerson & J. Parkerson, The Emergence of the Common School in the U. S. Countryside 6 (1998) (hereinafter Parkerson) (noting that early education activists, such as Benjamin Rush, believed public schools “help[ed] control the innate selfishness of the individual”). Teachers instilled these values not only by presenting ideas but also through strict discipline. Butts 274–275. Schools punished students for behavior the school considered disrespectful or wrong. Parkerson 65 (noting that children were punished for idleness, talking, profanity, and slovenliness). Rules of etiquette were enforced, and courteous behavior was demanded. Reese 40. To meet their educational objectives, schools required absolute obedience. C. Northend, The Teacher’s Assistant or Hints and Methods in School Discipline and Instruction 44, 52 (1865) (“I consider a school judiciously governed, where order prevails; where the strictest sense of propriety is manifested by the pupils towards the teacher, and towards each other . . .” (internal quotation marks omitted)).2 In short, in the earliest public schools, teachers taught, and students listened. Teachers commanded, and students obeyed. Teachers did not rely solely on the power of ideas to persuade; they relied on discipline to maintain order.
Tinker effected a sea change in students’ speech rights, extending them well beyond traditional bounds. The case arose when a school punished several students for wearing black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. Tinker, 393 U. S., at 504. Determining that the punishment infringed the students’ First Amendment rights, this Court created a new standard for students’ freedom of speech in public schools:...Accordingly, unless a student’s speech would disrupt the educational process, students had a fundamental right to speak their minds (or wear their armbands)—even on matters the school disagreed with or found objectionable. Ibid. (“[The school] must be able to show that its action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint”)....In light of the history of American public education, it cannot seriously be suggested that the First Amendment “freedom of speech” encompasses a student’s right to speak in public schools. Early public schools gave total control to teachers, who expected obedience and respect from students. And courts routinely deferred to schools’ authority to make rules and to discipline students for violating those rules. Several points are clear: (1) under in loco parentis, speech rules and other school rules were treated identically; (2) the in loco parentis doctrine imposed almost no limits on the types of rules that a school could set while students were in school; and (3) schools and teachers had tremendous discretion in imposing punishments for violations of those rules....I join the Court’s opinion because it erodes Tinker’s hold in the realm of student speech, even though it does so by adding to the patchwork of exceptions to the Tinker standard. I think the better approach is to dispense with Tinker altogether, and given the opportunity, I would do so.
I am a 2L at William and Mary Law School. Feel free to email any questions about school you have.
Quote from: philibusters on July 11, 2007, 11:26:51 PMI am a 2L at William and Mary Law School. Feel free to email any questions about school you have.I love it when TTT future doc review monkeys express opinions on that which they don't understand.