Every Individual has the First Amendment Rights

Kristy Vang, Reporter

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that every individual have the rights to express their freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.  History has shown us that the First Amendment has been designed to protect us on various events and notorious issues in public locations. On the other hand, some citizens tend to take an advantage of the First Amendment. Even though the First Amendment assures citizens the freedom of religion, speech, press, petition and assembly, people all around world chose to violate our first rights.

Many court cases have tried to define the limits of the freedom of religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly. Mathew Fraser, a senior at Bethel High School in Bethel, Washington, spoke with sexual references and innuendos to a school assembly to nominate a classmate for an elective office position. Because of his graphic sexual metaphor in his speech, he was suspended from the school and removed from graduation speech elections. The Washington Supreme Court agreed that his freedom of speech has been violated. In the Bethel case, however, the Court upheld the school district. By a 7-2 margin, the Court decided that school officials acted within the Constitution by disciplining Fraser. Correspondingly, there is another similar issue where the First Amendment has been ignored. In West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, all public school students were required to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Students that did not participate were expelled. The Jehovah’s Witnesses challenged the law on the First Amendment by arguing that the Pledge of Allegiance was conflicted with their religious beliefs. Therefore, they violated their free exercise of religion, including their freedom to speak. The Supreme Court ruled 6/3, saying that the school is violating the First Amendment rights.

John Vang, 16, believes that “the First Amendment should not be ignored. It should be respected.”

In Alex Capogna’s documentary, “Live Free,” Alex Capogna travels the world with great discussions regarding the First Amendment. He questioned many citizens concerning about their opinions on the First Amendment through his documentary. When he was in Boston, he held posters to ask volunteers to be interviewed based upon their outlook on the First Amendment. However, a security guard notified Alex that he was prohibited and not allowed to record. According to the First Amendment, he had every right due to the freedom of speech. Throughout the KKK rally, the KKK disapproves of gay marriage. Most people did not agree to participate or accept the rally. However, the KKK had the freedom to speak their opinions.

In the KKK rally, they had the freedom to speak. Steven said, “They don’t burn crosses, they light them up.” The KKK members demanded that their family largely support their actions. KKK Grand Dragon said, “People have to understand that we all have the right to free speech no matter what we believe.” The KKK rally knew that no one could take the rights away from the citizens.

The First Amendment has defined and shaped our country into what it is now.