Freedom of Assembly/Association
There is a physical component to “free
speech.” It’s called freedom of assembly
or association and can manifest in many
forms. You have the right to have friends
at your house for Bible studies and political discussion groups. You can protest in
the public square or on the courthouse
steps with a blow horn, placard, whatever,
as long as you’re peaceful.
10 For some situations, the government can require you to
buy a permit, but it cannot be so expensive as to constitute prior restraint.
Redress of Grievances
Finally, you have the right to petition the
government for a redress of grievances.
Simply stated, if the government doesn’t
provide you the means to force it to answer to something it has done or is about
to do to violate your rights (slavery, wom-en’s;suffrage,;etc.),;this;right;is;violated.
This is not an exhaustive analysis of
the First Amendment. However, it is far
more than most students are privy to in
government and even in private schools.
Sadly, because our children are so ill
informed, they often find themselves
facing hostile school or government
administrators who are intent on denying them their First Amendment rights,
such as government schools not allowing
valedictorians to open in prayer or City
Hall removing the Ten Commandments
from the hallways. If you find yourself
facing such hostility, don’t assume that
they are right and you are wrong. Contact one of the many nonprofit law firms
that specialize in fighting for your First
Amendment rights, such as the Alliance
Defending Freedom or American Center
for Law and Justice.
Kevin Mark Smith is an allied attorney with
the Alliance Defending Freedom in Wichita, Kansas, where he lives with his wife and
three daughters. He writes often on the law,
homeschooling, and issues of importance to
Christians, families, and conservatives on
1. See Kevin Mark Smith, “Homeschooled Kids
Scare me . . . in a Good Way,” www.thehome
agazine/201212/#pg105 The Old Schoolhouse®
Magazine, p. 102, December 2012.
2. See Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47
3. See, e.g., Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith,;494;U.S.;872
though the use of peyote was part of Native
4. C.f. Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches
Union Free School Dist., 508 U.S. 384, 113 S.
groups stating religious views in public schools
5. See R.A.V. v. St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377
1. What does “freedom of speech”
mean to you?
2. What are ways you could exercise your “freedom of speech”?
3. Can you think of any particular
issues that you might consider
exercising your “freedom of
speech” to stand up for?
4. If you are valedictorian of your
class and want to thank God
for your success, can the school
stop you? Don’t just answer. Research this issue. Look for cases
involving that fact pattern then
answer the question. A great
free source for such research is
Google Scholar, scholar.google.
5. What are some scenarios you
can think of where a government official might try to
prevent someone from speaking
up? Have you ever been told to
shut up in a situation where you
felt your freedom of speech was
6. After reading this primer,
how has your view of the First
6. See, e.g., Citizens United v. Federal Election
on corporate commercials supporting political
candidates as violations of the First Amendment
7.;See R.A.V. v. St. Paul,;505;U.S.;377.
8. See, e.g., New York Times Company v.
United States, 403;U.S.;713;(1971);(government
can’t ban newspaper from publishing “
9. See von Bulow v. von Bulow, 811 F.2d
lication which affords a vehicle of information
10. See Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S.
11. See Marcavage v. City of Chicago, Nos.
09–3335,;09–4079;(7th Cir. Ct. App. October
12. See generally, NAACP v. Button, 371 U.S.
grievances inflicted on minorities due to civil