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Debate: Can Schools Discipline Students for Online Speech?

The right to free speech at school is limited. Expression that disrupts school activities, for example, is not allowed. But what if a student posts on social media from home? Can schools discipline students for disruptive speech even if it takes place off school property? Some say the location of a student posting online speech is meaningless, and school officials should have the right to discipline students for violations wherever they occur. Others say that giving schools that power amounts to trampling on students’ rights. Listen to learn about a high school cheerleader whose case against her school reached the Supreme Court and then debate: Can schools discipline students for online speech?


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Story Length: 6:23

Listen to the Story:

Listening Comprehension Questions

  • What was one of Malala Yousafzai’s first experiences with the dangers of religious extremism?
  • After miraculously surviving her attack, what has Malala focused her work on?
  • What is the message that Malala is trying to send to those in power?
  • What does Malala want to do in the future?
  • What are the goals of Malala’s mission to support girls?

Discussion Themes

  • What is your opinion on Malala’s message about the power of education?
  • Why do you think that ISIS might want to silence people like Malala?

Socrative users can import these questions using the following code: SOC-1234