free expression

Washington State Constitution
Washington State Constitution

Washington State Constitution


SECTION 5 FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.


Washington Administrative Code: Student Rights
Citation: WAC 180-40-215
Summary from the Student Press Law Center Resource Library: In addition to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, states can provide additional free speech protection their own citizens by enacting state laws or regulations. The Washington Administrative Code’s section on Student Rights is such a provision and may provide students attending Washington public high schools with added protection against administrative censorship.

Section 215. Student rights
In addition to other rights established by law, each student served by or in behalf of a common school district shall possess the following substantive rights, and no school district shall limit these rights except for good and sufficient cause:

(2) All students possess the constitutional right to freedom of speech and press, the constitutional right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government and its representatives for a redress of grievances, the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and to have their schools free from sectarian control or influence, subject to reasonable limitations upon the time, place, and manner of exercising such right.

The foregoing enumeration of rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights set forth in the constitution and the laws of the state of Washington or the rights retained by the people.



iTunesU-First Amendment Course

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Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been the nation’s only legal assistance agency devoted exclusively to educating high school and college journalists about the rights and responsibilities embodied in the First Amendment and supporting the student news media in their struggle to cover important issues free from censorship.

Scholastic Journalism Free Press Manual
Press Freedom in Practice
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Student Press Law & Ethics

Do you need some support and ideas about how to ensure First Amendment rights for students at your school?
Check out the new JEA Scholastic Press Rights Commission Podcast.
It’s part of our “ThinkFirst” campaign encouraging all students, staff and administrators to become better educated about this important “Right to Know.” Subscribe via iTunes.


By David L. Hudson Jr.
First Amendment Center research attorney
Public school students do not lose their constitutional rights when they walk through the schoolhouse doors. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that “students in school as well as out of school are ‘persons’ under our Constitution.” This means that they possess First Amendment rights to express themselves in a variety of ways. They can write articles for the school newspaper, join clubs, distribute literature and petition school officials.” … read more
The official site of the Washington Journalism Education Association
free expression