This Article makes two observations, both in Parts II and III, that have received insufficient attention in the academic literature and in the courts. First, students in public school classrooms are "captive speakers." Due to compulsory attendance laws, students are "captive" not only when hearing speech, but also when they wish to speak. Adhering to the First Amendment means protecting not only captive listeners, but also captive speakers. Second, in the face of the potential misperception of students that their school endorses the speech of a fellow student, teachers have an extraordinary opportunity to simultaneously disclaim endorsement and teach the fundaments of religious liberty. Rather than treating students as static and incapable of distinguishing between state-sponsored and private religious expression, teachers should explain the distinction, along with the importance the Constitution assigns to religious expression.
Chad Allred, Guarding the Treasure: Protection of Student Religious Speech in the Classroom, 22 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 741 (1999).