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

COVID, Confusion, and the Right to Know

Teaching is a very difficult job. It always has been and always will be.

By Danielle S. McLaughlin

BPC Bulletins

BPC Bulletin: Leonard Marcus's "You Can't Say That!"

January 10, 2022 - A new book is on sale: Leonard S. Marcus’s You Can’t Say That! Writers for Young People Talk About Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell.

Blog Post

What Were They Thinking?

Sometimes, you just have to wonder what is happening in Canada’s schools. As it turns out, October was quite the month for people who think about freedom of expression in education.

By Danielle S. McLaughlin

Blog Post

When politics trumps teachers’ professional judgment, students and society lose

Freedom of Expression is an important foundation of a democratic society and protected as a “fundamental freedom” in Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and under the First

By Richard Beaudry

Blog Post

Should Personal Taste in Music Imperil Employment?

How much decorum should parents expect from their children’s high school principal? Should she have to commit to a dress code?

By Danielle S. McLaughlin