Use this test, based on Iowa law, to figure out if the school, teachers, or officials can control what you say, write, do, or create.

The only reasons they can forbid you to do something are if...

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It’s substantially disruptive.

If it gets in the way of students learning in an appropriate environment. (That’s why students aren’t allowed to talk out of turn in most classrooms.)

It violates the rights of others.

If it can be categorized as slanderous or libelous speech or bullying or harassment.

It encourages illegal behavior.

An example would be a t-shirt that promotes drug use.

It’s vulgar or obscene.

This is a tough one because what a school principal thinks is vulgar or obscene may not be what a high school junior thinks is obscene. Just because it’s about sex or homosexuality, for example, it’s not necessarily obscene or vulgar.

It’s part of a school-sponsored publication, brochure, web site, or other type of media.

However, in Iowa, students have a little more freedom than in other states. Click here for more information.

It’s conveying an “official” religious message or an official anti-religious message.

This would be if it's in the name or on behalf of the school. Click here for more information.