Blog of Rights

Standing Up for the Rights of Students to Free Expression

Standing Up for the Rights of Students to Free Expression

By Mary Beth Tinker at 11:39am
I have zero tolerance for schools that punish students for exercising their First Amendment rights. Students like Wesley Teague, who joked about his school's athletic department and Kyron Birdine, who was suspended for mocking standardized tests, did nothing more than exercise their right to freedom of expression. Free speech is a right that students need to understand, expect, and use responsibly. Because expressing yourself isn't always the popular thing to do, I'm going on a "Tinker Tour" to encourage students to know the First Amendment and to hear how they're using it in their lives.
Decades Later, No Justice for Kent State Killings

Decades Later, No Justice for Kent State Killings

By Laurel Krause, Co-founder and Director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal at 10:31am

On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard fired between 61 and 67 shots into a crowd of unarmed anti-war protestors at Kent State University in Ohio, killing four students and wounding nine others. My 19-year-old sister, Allison Krause, was…

Not a Real Family? Book About Two Moms Banned in Utah School District

Not a Real Family? Book About Two Moms Banned in Utah School District

In Our Mothers’ House, by Patricia Polacco, is a children’s book about three adopted children and their two mothers.  In response to complaints from a subset of parents that the book “normalizes a lifestyle we don’t agree with,” Davis School District in Utah has instructed its elementary school librarians to remove all copies of the book from the library shelves and place the book behind a counter where students must have written parental permission to read it.

Charlie Hebdo, The Interview, and Censoring Torture Photos

Charlie Hebdo, The Interview, and Censoring Torture Photos

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 11:55am

This post was first published by Just Security.

Update (1/21/15): The federal court hearing on the release of the torture photos, originally scheduled for yesterday, has been rescheduled for February 3.

In France and the United States,…

Censorship at the Smithsonian

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:58pm

Earlier this fall, "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" made waves when it opened at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery here in Washington. It was the first major museum exhibition to focus on the lives and works…

Hidden Third Cameraman Proves Crucial in Nebraska Photographer-Abuse Case

Hidden Third Cameraman Proves Crucial in Nebraska Photographer-Abuse Case

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:36am

Take a look at the photograph above. It shows a former police officer in an orange jumpsuit making a court appearance to face a felony charge of evidence tampering, as well as misdemeanor obstruction and theft. I hope that police around the nation…

You Have Every Right to Snap That Picture

By Michael Cummings, New York Civil Liberties Union at 5:50pm

Snapping a picture of a federal building from public property is every photographer’s right. Unfortunately, in recent years, pointing a camera at federal building seems to magnetically attract suspicion from federal security officers.

The…

People in Ferguson, holding up our Know Your Rights t-shirts

On the Ground in Ferguson: #BlackLivesMatter

By Marc Climaco, ACLU at 6:54pm

My heart aches today.

I'm in Ferguson – supporting the incredible work of ACLU of Missouri, meeting with activists, helping out legal observers, handing out Know Your Rights t-shirts and cards to protesters.

And, as a person of color,…

Sharing this picture in Arizona could get you thrown in jail [photos of baby]

Arizona’s Naked Photo Law Makes Free Speech a Felony

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:24pm

Which of the following could land you a felony conviction in Arizona?

Showing images of naked prisoners tortured at Abu Ghraib; Linking to the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of “Napalm Girl,” showing an unclothed Vietnamese…
There Is No 5-Second Rule for the First Amendment, Ferguson

There Is No 5-Second Rule for the First Amendment, Ferguson

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:53am

Tear gas, rubber bullets, and assault weapons; free speech zones, gags, and press pens: This is the arsenal of the police state. Some of these tactics are physical. The other ones—all the more pernicious for their quiet coercion—impose a veil of silence over the actions of law enforcement. And each of these weapons has been unleashed on the people of Ferguson, Missouri, since the killing of Michael Brown.