State College Area School District: Speech Code Court Decision
FIRE's Legal Network closely collaborated in Saxe v. State College Area School District, a case that reached the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The ruling, which struck down the College's "harassment code," which was really a speech code in disguise, is now binding precedent in the Third Circuit, which covers Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Virgin Islands. The long-term impact of cases like Saxe is profound, and is why FIRE lends its support to such litigation.
- "Federal Third Circuit: First Amendment Trumps School Harassment Speech Code," March 16, 2001: In a case in which FIRE collaborated significantly with plaintiff's attorneys, a federal appeals court in Pennsylvania ruled that the speech and expression provisions of State College Area School District's harassment policy violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The unconstitutional policy mirrors, almost precisely, the codes that dominate our nation's colleges and universities. Indeed, because the courts extend far fewer constitutional protections to speech at the Kindergarten to 12th Grade level, the implications of this finding for higher educations are momentous and profoundly heartening. Currently, scores of college and university of universities in the Third Circuit maintain speech codes that could not pass constitutional muster.
- "FIRE's Commentary on SAXE v. STATE COLLEGE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT F.3d, 2001 WL 123852," February 14, 2001
- "Decision in Saxe v. State College Area School District, February 14, 2001," United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, February 14, 2001