Freedom of speech involving threats has consequences

by: MAKENZIE MEANS/Staff Writer 

The use of the First Amendment, which includes freedom of speech, is constantly offending someone or causing trouble.

However, it is important that people express their freedom of speech. To have the rest of the Constitution, the people must have the First Amendment.

Throughout history, people have used their right to freedom of speech to see the change they want to have. Movements have been started, and people have stood up for their beliefs through freedom of speech. It is important for people to learn about and use their First Amendment right. Teaching young people that they have a voice is incredibly important. It is also important to teach people that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.

Unfortunately, according to a 2015 survey by The William F. Buckley Program at Yale, 51 percent of college students favor having speech codes that regulate speech for students and faculty. The survey also showed that one third of the students couldn’t even identify the First Amendment as part of the Constitution. These numbers are concerning.

Students in college should not be censored as if they were elementary students. College students are adults, and if they are offended by what someone says, then they should stand up for themselves. Since college is optional, people are free to leave if they don’t like what is being said.

Everyone always wants to be able to say what they want, without regard for anyone else. However, when someone hears something he or she doesn’t want to, he or she gets offended. I think part of this comes from living in such a politically correct society. If someone says something that goes against the majority, he or she is hateful, ignorant, racist or sexist. Sometimes that is just not the case.

As social media becomes more popular, the more people get in trouble for their words. In the past few years, it has happened over and over. An employee from a company states his or her opinion about a current event, and the next thing you know, he or she is getting fired from a job.

There are times when people do get fired because they were hateful, racist or sexist. Even though those things are not illegal, they most likely go against a company’s code of conduct. That is completely justifiable. Last year, a teacher from Frenship ISD, was fired because of comments she made on Facebook about a recent event concerning race. Her comments called for segregation, and she even said, “…the blacks are the ones causing the problems…” There is absolutely no need for comments such as hers.

Anyone who writes this on their social media site should face some type of consequences. However, there are certain careers that get watched a little closer than others. If you’re a teacher or professor, a government employee, cop, or even a doctor, you are held to a higher standard than everyone else. These positions have a stricter code of conduct than other jobs. Since that is the case, anything posted on social media could damage your career. These certain jobs are held to a higher standard because they are put in a position with power and influence. Teachers are in charge of teaching the next generation, so school districts have to monitor what their employees are doing.

With all the coverage about police brutality during the past year, people have begun to hate cops. There have been several stories of people getting arrested because they made threats against the police. They’ve made comments about going to kill all the cops, or they’re going to shoot a cop. In instances like this, freedom of speech has consequences. People are not allowed to go around making threats like that.

Freedom of speech is one of the key factors that shaped our country. It is necessary to continue to educate people of all ages about freedom of speech.

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

One thought

  1. The bill of rights is one of the most essential documents in our representative democracy. I think your points are right on. I’m not sure if you are aware, but Gitlow v. New York, Schenck v. US, and Tinker v. Des Moines are some immensely important first amendment cases. Basically, freedom of speech is protected until you promote violence, disrupt the efficiency of a public institution (specifically, a public school), or attempt to cause people to break the law. Your ideas are righteous. I’m going to be posting cool, politically based articles if you’re interested and want to input an opinion or two! thanks!

    Like

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