Share This
You Can’t Say That in School?!

You Can’t Say That in School?!

August 7, 2018

Cyberbullying. Religious clubs. Confederate flag T-shirts. Student walkouts.

What do all these things have in common?

They’re all topics students will learn about when visiting the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Read on to learn more about the classes available.

Have your students debate these timely and relevant topics in the “You Can’t Say That in School?!” class at the Newseum. Students will discover how the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment apply in everyday life and in school. When are there limits and why? The 1969 landmark Supreme Court decision in Tinker v. Des Moines serves as a basis to discuss how public school officials must balance students’ rights to free expression with the need to provide a safe learning environment. Students can then discuss and debate other real-life court cases.

In addition to the 50-minute class, students can visit the Cox Enterprises First Amendment Gallery in the Newseum, where they can view the original black armband Mary Beth Tinker wore to protest the Vietnam War and the “Bong Hits for Jesus” student sign that also was the subject of a Supreme Court ruling.

“The students were really impressed,” Washington, D.C., teacher Karine Welsh said of the class experience. “Students often times don’t know their rights and this was a great way for them to get introduced to the five freedoms.”

“You Can’t Say That in School?!” is one of 17 free student classes offered at the Newseum that focus on history, media literacy and civics—rooted in the First Amendment.

The class—offered virtually and on-site—also complements a host of free First Amendment and media literacy resources on Newseum’s website that help students become better informed and engaged citizens. The website offers lessons plans, as well as 1,100-plus historic newspapers and artifacts, videos and more, to bring the Newseum into your classroom.

Particularly relevant to the discussion of student rights and responsibilities is an hour-long webcast with Mary Beth Tinker that NewseumED taped in March 2018. In the webcast, Tinker discusses her landmark case on student speech and how it applies today amid a swell of student activism following a school shooting in Florida.

Visit the Newseum website to quickly find the right combination of classes, exhibits and gallery guides to engage students, meet learning goals, and efficiently move through the seven-floor museum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

For more information or to book a field trip, visit, call 202.292.6650 or email [email protected]. Classes are free with admission and students get a discounted admission rate, with one chaperone free per 10 students.

Courtesy of Newseum.

Photo courtesy of Newseum.