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Omnipresent Student Speech and the Schoolhouse Gate: Interpreting Tinker in the Digital Age
ExpressO (2014)
  • Watt L. Black, Jr., Southern Methodist University
This paper focuses primarily on federal circuit level decisions regarding public school district's ability to discipline students who engage in electronic speech while off-campus and not involved in school activities. Particular attention is paid to the question of whether and how appeals courts have been willing to apply the "material and substantial disruption" standard from the Supreme Court's 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines decision to speech occurring off-campus. The paper, which is targeted toward both legal scholars and school administrators, draws together the common threads from the various circuits and weaves them into a set of guidelines for school administrators seeking to respond to student cyber-speech that occurs off campus in a legally defensible manner.
  • First Amendment,
  • Tinker v. Des Moines,
  • material and substantial disruption,
  • electronic speech,
  • off-campus,
  • school discipline
Publication Date
Spring February 21, 2014
Citation Information
Black, Watt L. Jr. "Omnipresent Student Speech and the Schoolhouse Gate: Interpreting Tinker the the Digital Age," Originally published in Volume 59, St. Louis U. L.J. (2014-15)