Have students write their answers to each question, or use these prompts to guide a discussion.
• CITING TEXTUAL EVIDENCE: What rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment?
(The First Amendment guarantees Americans’ freedom of speech, religion, and the press, as well as the right to assemble peacefully and to petition the government for change.)
• CAUSE AND EFFECT: Why did the Framers add the Bill of Rights?
(Some of the Framers were worried that the Constitution didn’t guarantee Americans’ individual freedoms. They wanted to make sure that the new government they had created didn’t overstep its bounds.)
• DRAWING CONCLUSIONS: According to the article, how does the First Amendment apply to kids?
(Answers will vary but may include that First Amendment rights are limited for kids. Some examples include limits within public schools, such as prohibitions on certain items of clothing or the right of local governments to impose curfews—despite First Amendment protections of the right to assemble.)
• CLOSE READING: Based on the article, why doesn’t the First Amendment prevent Facebook or other social media companies from banning certain users?
(First Amendment rules apply only to the government or government institutions—such as public schools—not to private companies like Facebook or Snapchat. That means it’s legal for social media companies to ban users.)
• DRAWING CONCLUSIONS: Based on what you read in the article, what role do you think the Supreme Court plays in applying the First Amendment?
(Answers will vary but may include that when a conflict arises over an application of the First Amendment, it may result in a legal case that reaches the Supreme Court. The justices ultimately decide how the First Amendment should be applied.)
• MAKING INFERENCES: The Supreme Court has heard more than 200 cases related to the First Amendment. Why do you think it has agreed to hear so many?
(Since the First Amendment was drafted in 1791, many questions have arisen over the protections it guarantees. It’s up to the Supreme Court to decide how those protections can be applied in the real world. New questions arise with each new era, like issues today regarding social media.)