On this day 20 years ago, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion striking down the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”). This statute constituted the first attempt by Congress to regulate the content of material on the Internet. The CDA made it a crime to place content on the Internet that was ‘indecent’ or ‘patently offensive’ if that content would be accessed by minors under the age of 18.
The decision to pull all of the yearbooks smacks of viewpoint discrimination. Justice William Brennan in his dissent on Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier warned that the decision to protect students from controversial or sensitive topics is actually “camouflage” for viewpoint discrimination: “Even in its capacity as educator the State may not assume an Orwellian ‘guardianship of the public mind.”
The biggest questions concerning Intellectual Freedom in this country have always revolved around the right to speak, write, or otherwise express dissent on any given topic; most importantly on political or social issues.
Institutions of higher education are seeing an increasing number of challenges to the principles of academic freedom that have seemingly been embedded in higher education since the establishment of American universities … This notion, however, that academic freedom has always existed in academic institutions in the United States is inaccurate.
This current battle, in 2017 for the integrity of the classroom isn’t new for Oklahoma or the nation, but this particular bill feels like a retread. The author of Senate Bill 393 is State Senator Josh Brecheen. Brecheen has authored similar bills (six in fact) since 2011. This is his seventh attempt.
Article 19 of the [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
How does an intellectual freedom fighter deal with someone like Milo Yiannopoulos? Does the First Amendment guarantee a forum for every kind of speech?
Librarians and teachers have a critical and ongoing role to play in educating students and patrons about the First Amendment.