Teachers & Students Speech Rights

The Issue

Teachers and students have limited rights to freedom of expression. The restrictions on teachers are unique in that they apply not only in their work at school but also in their personal lives. Limiting the right to speak, to express their views, and to question conventional wisdom and popular ideology implicitly teaches about society’s lack of commitment to civil liberties.

Why It Matters

Two basic purposes of education are the development of critical thinking skills and preparation for being an active citizen in democratic society. Our schools undermine these objectives when they offer instruction but fail to be models of democratic values. 

Our Work

The Centre for Free Expression is exploring the extent of restrictions on speech rights of teachers and students in Canadian schools. It is fostering discussions with educators and the public about how schools can better achieve their educational objectives through enhanced freedom of expression rights for teachers and students.


Blog Post

Cultural Appropriation, Freedom of Expression or What to Wear to Prom

Recently, a young woman in the US found a beautiful red cheongsam or qipao in a vintage clothing store.

By Danielle S. McLaughlin

Blog Post

Bill 62: An Act to Promote Bullying

Imagine that I am a teacher who has decided to teach my students about cultures other than their own.

By Danielle S. McLaughlin


You Can’t Say That! – Teachers’ Rights to Free Expression

While free expression is a Charter right, teachers face serious limitations on what they can do and say in school and outside.

Past Event

You Can’t Say That! – Teachers’ Rights to Free Expression

Speakers: Danielle McLauglin, Jerry Raso, Marvin Zuker, William Smale, April Julian

Moderator: James L. Turk