Children Do Not Have Freedom of Speech In Public Schools

They are Now Subjects to Their New Master – the School System and the Federal Government

June 19th is a day that African-Americans celebrate, as it symbolizes the end of slavery in this nation in 1865. But 135 years later, this day will now symbolize the beginning tyranny for children with religious beliefs, who attend public school.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court said that children in public school cannot pray before a sports event, even if they all vote that they want to exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech. Because while on public property, they become “subjects” of the state, and spokesmen for the school system, abandoning all their own rights to free speech.

So basically . . . children are less than full citizens when they attend public school.

As we celebrate the liberation of one group of people, we must mourn the unequal treatment of another. But does a decision like this mean that a child will be barred from praying in a public library, a public park, at national monuments, on a public highway or in the Nation’s Capitol?

Just what are the implications of a decision so draconian as it relates to a person’s rights as he navigates a nation surrounded by public arenas?

Chief Justice William Rehnquist said in his blistering dissent, “Even more disturbing than its holding is the tone of the court’s opinion. It bristles with hostility to all things religious in public life.”

He rightly accused the majority of distorting legal precedents and “venturing into the world of prophesy” by deciding that harm was inevitable. This is all done in a court surrounded by engravings of religious symbols, that begins each court session by asking God’s blessings on the court and making everyone swear to tell the truth and asks God’s help in doing this.

It’s too bad that unequal protection under the law still exists 135 years after slavery ended.