Guidelines for Students’ Right of Free Expression

  •  Student Rights

    Students have a right to freedom of expression and may participate in free speech activities, including political or religious speech, while on school property. Students may assemble on school property to discuss their views and opinions and may participate in peaceful protests and demonstrations on school property during non-instructional periods. See Board Policy 7.196 (Student Demonstrations) and 7.140 (Student Membership in Groups).

    Students may exercise the following rights as long as their speech, expression, or conduct is not obscene, lewd, libelous, or slanderous:

    (1) Silent protests during a school assembly or activity, including wearing a ribbon or armband;

    (2) Peaceful demonstrations that do not disrupt the educational program (e.g., are not so loud as to make instruction impossible, do not block entrance/exit to a common area);

    (3) Opinions/editorials within the parameters of a school sponsored publication

    The following materials will not be tolerated:

    1. Material which is libelous or which violates the right of privacy;
    2. Material which is obscene, according to current standards of our community;
    3. Profanity, hereby defined as that language which would not be used in an established newspaper of major publication such as the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times;
    4. Material which advocates the breaking of any law;
    5. Material which criticizes or demeans any race, religion, sex, or ethnic group;
    6. Any material, the publication of which would cause substantial disruption of the school. Substantial disruption is hereby defined as the threat of physical violence in the school or nearby community and/or the disruption of the school's educational program;
    7. Any material that violates the law, the Board’s policies, the Student Code of Conduct or this guideline document.

    Students must be reminded they are expected to follow Board Policy 7.190 (Student Conduct), the Student Code of Conduct and these guidelines. This document and the guidelines outlines must be shared and available to students.


    School District U-46 Administration has established reasonable parameters for those students who wish to exercise their free speech rights on school property during non-instructional periods. Site administrators may establish reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of the speech or activity in order to maintain a safe and peaceful environment for all students and School District U-46 employees.


    Employees’ Responsibilities

    School District U-46 employees shall at all times, during working hours perform their duties and responsibilities as assigned by the District Administration and in line with their job descriptions.

    District employees shall not promote, endorse, or participate in any student demonstration, distribution of materials, assembly, sit-in, or walk-outs.

    Please contact the Legal Office (847-888-5000 Ext. 5305) with questions to determine how this information may apply to your school's specific facts and circumstances.