Is it legal for the administration in my high school is trying to force the students to sign a dance contract for prom?

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Is it legal for the administration in my high school is trying to force the students to sign a dance contract for prom?

Tickets were sold before the students had any knowledge of a contract. The contract addresses dancing which can be considered freedom of expression. This is a public school so the administration is employed by the taxpayers.

Asked on February 21, 2011 under General Practice, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, both state and federal courts--including the U.S. Supreme Court--have repeatedly held that student freedom of speech is sharply limited in a school context, and that schools have considerable discretion to limit student "speech" in the interest of maintaining discipline and accomplishing their educational mission. That was even for much more classically protected--e.g. overtly political speech, such as slogans on t-shirts--than what you describe. (Note: not all speech is equal, and the courts do in fact differ between "speech" that expresses opinions and "speech" whose expressive element is merely incidental.)

While you could try to contact the ACLU to see if they might consider this a significant and viable case, it is very likely that the sort of restriction you describe will be upheld.


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