Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1990 · Page 22
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 22

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Indiana, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 13, 1990
Page:
Page 22
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freedom of from Th» MH Pag* by BMy IMawn C 2003 Tin MH P«g» Pi**K*g Coraptny Inc. Limits Chief Justice of the United States Oliver Wendell Holmes once warned, "Words can be weapons." Speech has to be responsible. Sometimes the limits on freedom of speech are set by common sense. Sometimes they are set by laws. Making decisions about when to limit free speech has often caused problems for the courts. Freedom of speech has been limited: • when public safety is threatened. Example: You can't yell "Fire" in a crowded theater when there isn't one. This false alarm would cause harm when people rush to the exits. • when the national security is threatened. Example: It's illegal to give military secrets to the enemy. • when you libel or slander a person. Libel occurs when . something untrue is written and slander occurs when something untrue is spoken in public. Example: Someone sets out to ruin another person's reputation by saying or writing things that are not true. Look through your newspaper for articles about people giving speeches. Next week The Mini Page is about freedom of assembly and petition. The Mini Page thanks the educational staff of the National Archives (www.archives.gov) and Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center {www.firstamendmentcenter.org) for help with this issue. peecn Striking nurses picket in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2002. Symbolic speech Sometimes our conduct, or the way we act, is a form of expressing ourselves. This is called symbolic speech. Picketing is a form of symbolic speech. Picketers usually carry signs and walk back and forth in front of places. They try to influence people who pass by not to support some group or not to do business with a company. Picketing is legal as long as it is peaceful. Political yard signs, buttons and bumper stickers are also examples of symbolic freedom of speech. A few people who have spoken out For'civil rights For women's rights Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) For the environment For workers' rights Rachel Carson (1907-1964) Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) A famous Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines School District In 1965, some citizens of Des Moines, Iowa, decided to protest the war in Vietnam by wearing black armbands. People sometimes wear these bands as a symbol of mourning or sadness when someone dies. School principals in the area were concerned that anti-war protests would interrupt their school day. They made a rule and announced that armbands would not be permitted in school. Mary Beth Tinker, 13, along with her older brother John, 16, and another friend, decided to wear black armbands to school anyway. When they did, they were suspended. The Tinker children's parents objected and fought the case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protects symbolic speech as well as regular speaking. Symbolic speech is legal as long as it does not interfere with school activities and as lorig as other students'rights are not violated.

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