Thursday, July 9, 2015

Constitution Day essay contest announced

In 2004, the Congress decided that "Constitution Day" should be observed in schools each year on September 17 with educational programs about the history and signing of the Constitution. To help celebrate Constitution Day, seven newspapers and the New Hampshire Supreme Court have sponsored an annual "Constitution Day Essay Contest" for grades 5-12 on a topic related to our constitutional rights as citizens.

Winning essays will be published in the participating newspapers and winners will be invited, along with parents and teachers, to a special reception at the state Supreme Court and to the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications First Amendment Awards.

The contest rules are available online.

This year's essay question:

Schools and other public places (including government buildings and sports venues) frequently mandate dress codes or ban certain types of messages, such as those conveyed through t-shirt slogans. In your opinion, do such bans or dress restrictions violate First Amendment rights of free speech?  Do such messages or choice of clothing, in fact, constitute “speech?” Are there valid reasons for such bans, such as safety considerations? Does the subject matter of a message make a difference? Who should be responsible for determining whether such messages do violate free speech rights?  

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