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Student Speech Policy Readability in Public Schools : Interpretation, Application, and Elevation of

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This book explores the issue of student speech in public schools from a student usability perspective. Public school students rely on student handbooks to give them clear guidance regarding their rights and responsibilities within their academic environments. The clarity of these documents becomes essential for students to understand their constitutional rights to free speech and expression in their schools. What do student handbooks—documents written specifically for students—say about free speech, if anything at all? How are these rights defined, and how is the language interpreted? Salkin and Shenkel explore these questions by using a sample of public high school student handbooks from across the country for the presence of student expression guidance and analyze such guidance with common readability indices to determine the accessibility of the text. They then task five focus groups of public high school students to interpret, apply, and analyze existing student speech guidebook language for its usability by its primary audience. Finally, this project proposes real-world suggestions for schools seeking to create student expression handbook language that conforms to the First Amendment as it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United States, and can be easily understood and used by the audience it seeks to serve.

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