Thursday, February 16, 2017

Support for First Amendment Spikes Among High School Students

Support for First Amendment Spikes Among High School Students:

Support for First Amendment Spikes Among High School Students

first amendment high schools

While your average 13-year-old may not have much of a clue how a bill becomes a law or what the separation of powers refers to, American teenagers support for the First Amendment has never been stronger, according to a new survey by the Knight Foundation.
The national study of 11,998 high school students and 726 teachers – the sixth such survey the Foundation has conducted since 2005 – found that 91 percent of students said it was important to be able to “express unpopular opinions,” up from 83 percent who felt that way in 2004. First Amendment support is highest among students who had a class that dealt with the First Amendment and used digital media on a regular basis.
“This year’s study paints a very favorable picture of the future of the First Amendment,” said Kenneth Dautrich, author of the report and president of The Stats Group. “Today’s high school students are more supportive of free expression rights than any we’ve surveyed in the past.”
This enthusiasm is not without its limits, however. Students backed away a bit in their support when it comes to offensive words and bullying. Only 45 percent believe speech intended to offend people should be protected and even fewer students (36 percent) support speech that could be considered bullying.
Breaking down by demographics yields some interesting, if not particularly surprising, results. Male students were 10 percent more likely than female students to support protections for offensive speech. By the same margin, White students were more supportive than Hispanic and Asian students of these protections. This discrepancy increased to 20 percent with Black students.
The gap between student support and adult support has narrowed over the past decade. (See graph below)
Source: Future of the First Amendment, Knight Foundation 2017

News Consumptions Makes a Difference

Probably the most useful data point for social studies and media literacy teachers is Support for First Amendment Spikes Among High School Students:

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