This administration's young adults remain woefully ignorant of certain
inalienable rights. Be sure and note the part about internet censorship.
US teens 'reject' key freedoms
A significant number of US high-school students regard their
constitutional right to freedom of speech as excessive, according to a new
Over a third of the 100,000 students questioned felt the First Amendment
went "too far" in guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, worship and
Only half felt newspapers should be allowed to publish stories that did
not have the government's approval.
The US government has committed itself to spreading "freedom" abroad.
In his second inaugural address, President George W Bush said the survival
of liberty in the US depended on the success of liberty abroad.
Some rights groups have however attacked his administration for
restricting civil liberties in measures that followed the 9/11 attacks on
New York and Washington.
The two-year, $1m survey across US schools - in which 8,000 teachers were
also interviewed - suggested students held a number of misconceptions
about the First Amendment, and were more censorious on some issues than
Some 83% of students polled felt people should be allowed to express
unpopular views, as opposed to 97% of teachers.
Roughly half the students polled wrongly believed the US government had
the right to censor the internet, while two-thirds believed it was illegal
to burn the US flag - another misconception.
The president of the John S and James L Knight Foundation, which conducted
the research, said: "Ignorance about the basics of this free society is a
danger to this nation's future."
The survey concluded that better teaching and a bigger emphasis on student
journalism could raise awareness of the First Amendment in American
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/02/01 10:00:31 GMT
Garret D. Langlois
(802)656-9785, 415A HSRF
Laboratory & Research Technician
Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology
College of Medicine, University of Vermont