NOTE: THE NEW SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS: STUDENT SPEECH VS. STUDENT SAFETY AFTER COLUMBINE* Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2001 The Trustees of Boston University
The Boston University Public Interest Law Journal

NOTE: THE NEW SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS: STUDENT SPEECH VS. STUDENT SAFETY AFTER COLUMBINE*

* The author extends his thanks to Boston University School of Law Professor Tracey Maclin.

Summer, 2001

10 B.U. Pub. Int. L.J. 428

Author

Richard C. Demerle
 

Excerpt



I. Introduction
 
Since February 1996, American students have killed 39 of their fellow classmates and school faculty members, while wounding another 93. 1 The names of the crime scenes - Moses Lake, Wash.; Bethel, Alaska; Pearl, Miss.; West Paducah, Ky.; Stamps, Ark.; Jonesboro, Ark.; Edinboro, Pa.; Fayetteville, Tenn.; Springfield, Or.; Littleton, Colo.; Conyers, Ga.; Deming, N.M.; Fort Gibson, Okla.; Mount Morris Township, Mich.; Lake Worth, Fla.; Santee, Cal.; El Cajon, Cal. - offer no simple or ready explanation. The survivors look for a reason. The rest of the country looks for a common thread, a way to recognize the danger in advance. 2 As one New Hampshire resident said after a bomb threat at his town's public school, "Had this been a bomb, Nottingham would no longer be the name of a town. It would be the name of an incident." 3

Across the nation, state lawmakers and state educators - already wrestling with student test scores and aging school buildings - now face a much more basic task: keeping their students safe from student violence. In addition to metal detectors, violence-prevention hotlines and school-based police drills, 4 school districts have also begun implementing regulations limiting or prohibiting student behavior. Dress codes and speech codes have gained renewed popularity. 5 Some lawmakers have even used the school shootings to argue for allowing religious symbols and activities back into the public schools. 6

The state of Louisiana has gone even further. State lawmakers - who had seen five ...
 
 
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