First Amendment Survey

By: Lindsey Ward Email
By: Lindsey Ward Email

September 17, 2007

According to a new study Americans surveyed support all of the basic rights, but there is one group Americans don't believe have the right to speak freely.

Freedom of religion, freedom of the press and freedom of speech are your First Amendment rights signed 220 years ago.

“We definitely need and want our first amendment rights to express ourselves, to freely do that without revocation from the government or any other body,” said Will Crawford, Orange County Schools Superintendent.

“Freedom of speech is paramount it's fundamental to our rights as Americans and our country,” said Jerry Griffith, celebrating Constitution Day.

Rights intended for every U.S. citizen aren't viewed that way by many Americans, this according to a new study.

The survey results suggest the American public is reluctant to support free expression for students. This raises concerns among many experts. They say students may not appreciate their basic rights if they do not live in an environment which respects those rights

“Student expression is particularly concerning because if a student is raised in an environment when their own speech isn't given much value how can they be expected to give much value to freedom of expression when they graduate from school and become citizens of the real world,” said Josh Wheeler, Associate Director or The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

Although right now younger students may only understand the words, educators say one day the lesson will come and hopefully they will appreciate the right to free expression.

“I think you can't understand the true extent of the constitution until you have had some experience with how we as adults and the legal system try to twist and manipulate that,” said Crawford.

This is the tenth year the First Amendment Center released the survey.


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