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The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” As the Supreme Court has previously observed, the First Amendment was not originally understood to permit all sorts of speech; instead, “[t]here are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem.” Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U. S. 568, 571-572 (1942) ; see also Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U. S. 536, 554 (1965) . The history of public education suggests that the First Amendment , as originally understood, does not protect student speech in public schools. Although colonial schools were exclusively private, public education proliferated in the early 1800’s. By the time the States ratified the Fourteenth Amendment , public schools had become relatively common. W. Reese, America’s Public Schools: From the Common School to “No Child Left Behind” 11-12 (2005) (hereinafter Reese). If students in public schools were originally understood as having free-speech rights, one would have expected 19th-century public schools to have respected those rights and courts to have enforced them. They did not. Although the First Amendment did not apply to the States until ...

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