In the United States free speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The federal government has attempted to restrict the Internet through legislation. The Child Online Protection Act, which would require commercial web sites to restrict access by children to material deemed "harmful to minors" by requiring a credit card or proof of age. This legislation is being contested in federal court and will most likely be found unconstitutional. The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA). It was voted into laws but was later found unconstitutional by the Federal Supreme Court. A new version of CDA called CDA II has passed in the United States legislature and will most likely be contested by the ACLU for First Amendment violations. The Safe Schools Internet Act of 1998 and Children's Internet Protection Act are currently under consideration by the United States legislature. These laws are attempts by the government to force schools to filter the Internet.
Libraries have recently seen litigation over the use of filters to control access to the Internet.
Schools are torn by their duty to protect kids and their desire to have access to all the desirable information the Internet offers. Schools are at the beginning stages of figuring out ways to filter the internet and yet keep it as open as possible. At the present time there does not appear to be any web sites in regard to litigation against schools specifically about the Internet. I believe this is due to the lack of many schools having access to the Internet. Lawsuits against schools will start appearing as the schools attempt to restrict access to the Internet. The ACLU has indicated that it is just a matter of time before law suites against schools begin to appear. Some organizations believe the rights protected in the First Amendment include K-12 school students.
The Different Points of View
Pro free speech
When you filter sites for kids then adults are denied access to information when they use the computer and is a violation of their 1st amendment rights of free speech.
Any attempts to filter or censor harmful web sites that a student accesses can also block sites that are good and of educational value and is a violation of their 1st amendment rights. http://www.aclu.org/issues/cyber/burning.html
The First Amendment rights of free speech does not exclude students in public schools.
In the State of Illinois the legislature passed House Bill 154 bill that spelled out the rights of children in a school. The bill was vetoed by the governor of the state and never became law. Some states have passed laws regarding students rights
Schools are not for the use of the general public and if an adult chooses to use the school then they have to accept the restrictions of the school. Our first obligation is to our students
Schools are obligated to protect students from material determined to be harmful for kids.
WebWiseKIds web site supporting the safe use of the Internet.
School age children do not have the freedom to do what ever they want. As parents and teachers we restrict our kids to protect them and to teach them the values we want them to learn. In the case of Bethel School District No. 403 vs. Fraser Supreme Court upholds right of schools to censor certain speech.
Pro students rights
The opponents of censorship have used the Supreme Court legal ruling in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969). In this case the Supreme Court ruled that students do have limited first amendment protection. The court held that the schools may restrict some rights of students within certain guide lines.
Pro schools right to censor
The Supreme Court has ruled that schools do have a right to censor student publications. One ruling came from the lawsuit of Hazelwood School District et al. v. Kuhlmeier et al. (1988). Another case was the Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser [478 US 675 (1986]