Supreme Court cases every teen should know

An important part of civic engagement is having an understanding of our government and how it works. While the many facets of our democracy can be complex, there are resources available to help students digest this important information more easily.

To support, Scholastic recently launched We the People, a free online tool focused on civics education and media literacy for students in grades 4–10 powered by timely content from Scholastic Classroom Magazines including Scholastic News®Junior Scholastic® and The New York Times UPFRONT®. The resource is separated into editions with age-appropriate content for students in grades 4–6 and 7–10.

In the edition for grades 7–10, kids can access content about the three branches of government, the Constitution, the First Amendment, the role of political parties and the U.S. Supreme Court. One article focuses specifically on four Supreme Court cases that every teen should know about because they involve teens.

Here is a brief overview of the rulings on four important cases that should be on all teen’s radars:

Riley v. California (2014)

Can your cellphone testify against you? The Supreme Court ruled that authorities must get a warrant before they can search a phone.

Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe (2000)

Is group prayer allowed in public schools? The ruling on this case is generally understood to mean that public school students can pray together as long as their teachers, coaches or other school officials are not involved.

Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988)

Can schools censor student newspapers? The Supreme Court ruled that educators and schools have the right to censor school newspapers, yearbooks, graduation speeches and plays “so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate [educational] concerns.”

New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)

Can schools search your belongings? The Court determined that schools have the right to search student’s possessions, including backpacks and lockers, if there is “reasonable suspicion” that a school rule or a law has been broken.

To read more about these court cases and to watch a video about free speech and its limits, visit We the People at: https://wethepeople.scholastic.com/

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