Child Pornography

Child Pornography

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9519-1.ch006


This chapter discusses child pornography speech which the United States Supreme Court first categorically excluded from First Amendment protection in New York v. Ferber (1982). The goal of the chapter is to provide an overview of the child-pornography jurisprudence. The chapter also highlights a case applying the Supreme Court precedent on child pornography to student speech. The chapter concludes that, due to its unprotected nature, students censored for child pornography speech have no First Amendment recourse.
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In New York v. Ferber (1982), the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment does not protect child pornography. Thus, students who are punished by school districts for accessing or distributing child pornography cannot challenge these sanctions on free speech grounds. Yet, as T.V. ex rel. B.V. v. Smith-Green Community School Corporation (2011) illustrates, school districts must demonstrate that the alleged internet activity fits within the standards established in case law as well as state and federal statutes. The first part of this chapter provides an overview of Supreme Court case law on child pornography. The remainder of the chapter discusses the T.V. ex rel. B.V. v. Smith-Green Community School Corporation (2011) case, in which a court ruled that a school district could not punish students on child pornography grounds for sexually-risqué photographs that the students took of themselves during slumber parties and posted on social media websites.

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