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[Scooplist] MEDIA RELEASE: 1 in 3 teens says First Amendment goes 'too far'

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  • rick@stanley2002.org
    Rick Stanley Constitutional Activist Phone: 303-329-0481 E-mail: rick@stanley2002.org We the People Scoop 01/31/05 ** Special Edition **
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2005
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      Rick Stanley
      Constitutional Activist
      Phone: 303-329-0481
      E-mail: rick@...

      We the People Scoop 01/31/05 ** Special Edition **
      ** Visit the website: http://www.stanley2002.org **
      ** Like the Scoop? Forward it to everyone you know! **

      MEDIA RELEASE: 1 in 3 teens says First Amendment goes 'too far'

      They can now report to the powers that be that their "Down with Freedom"
      education program is working.


      Jan. 31, 2005, 9:56AM
      1 in 3 teens says First Amendment goes 'too far'
      By BEN FELLERzzz
      Associated Press

      THE ISSUE: The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation sponsored a study of
      high school students' attitudes about the First Amendment to the
      Constitution that guarantees freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly.

      THE FINDING: More than one in three students surveyed said the guarantees
      went too far, in sharp contrast to teachers and principals who were questioned.

      THE REMEDY: Better teaching of the Constitution and the rights that it
      protects, which the study suggests will be embraced by students once they
      know of them.
      WASHINGTON - The way many high school students see it, government
      censorship of newspapers may not be a bad thing, and flag burning is hardly
      protected free speech.

      It turns out the First Amendment is a second-rate issue to many of those
      nearing their own adult independence, according to a study of high school
      attitudes released today.

      The original amendment to the Constitution is the cornerstone of the way of
      life in the United States, promising citizens the freedoms of religion,
      speech, press and assembly.

      Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in
      three high school students said it goes "too far" in the rights it
      guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to
      publish freely without government approval of stories.

      "These results are not only disturbing; they are dangerous," said Hodding
      Carter III, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which
      sponsored the $1 million study. "Ignorance about the basics of this free
      society is a danger to our nation's future."

      The students are even more restrictive in their views than their elders,
      the study says.

      When asked whether people should be allowed to express unpopular views, 97
      percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals said yes. Only 83
      percent of students did.

      The results reflected indifference, with almost three in four students
      saying they took the First Amendment for granted or didn't know how they
      felt about it. It was also clear that many students do not understand what
      is protected by the bedrock of the Bill of Rights.

      Three in four students said flag burning is illegal. It's not. About half
      the students said the government can restrict any indecent material on the
      Internet. It can't.

      "Schools don't do enough to teach the First Amendment. Students often don't
      know the rights it protects," Linda Puntney, executive director of the
      Journalism Education Association, said in the report. "This all comes at a
      time when there is decreasing passion for much of anything. And, you have
      to be passionate about the First Amendment."

      The partners in the project, including organizations of newspaper editors
      and radio and television news directors, share a clear advocacy for First
      Amendment issues.

      Federal and state officials, meanwhile, have bemoaned a lack of knowledge
      of U.S. civics and history among young people. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.,
      has even pushed through a mandate that schools must teach about the
      Constitution on Sept. 17, the date it was signed in 1787.

      The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, is
      billed as the largest of its kind. More than 100,000 students, nearly 8,000
      teachers and more than 500 administrators at 544 public and private high
      schools took part in early 2004.

      The study suggests that students embrace First Amendment freedoms if they
      are taught about them and given a chance to practice them, but schools
      don't make the matter a priority.

      Students who take part in school media activities, such as a student
      newspapers or TV production, are much more likely to support expression of
      unpopular views, for example.

      About nine in 10 principals said it is important for all students to learn
      some journalism skills, but most administrators say a lack of money limits
      their media offerings.

      More than one in five schools offer no student media opportunities; of the
      high schools that do not offer student newspapers, 40 percent have
      eliminated them in the last five years.

      "The last 15 years have not been a golden era for student media," said
      Warren Watson, director of the J-Ideas project at Ball State University in
      Indiana. "Programs are under siege or dying from neglect. Many students do
      not get the opportunity to practice our basic freedoms."

      Live Free or Die! Liberty in our Lifetime!
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