Can Students Protest on Pennsylvania Schools’ Grounds?

Can Students Protest on Pennsylvania Schools’ Grounds?

In response to recent current events, many protests have popped up all over the nation. These locations can include colleges and universities throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Many people have used protesting throughout history in order to fight for what they believe in. In doing so, it is important to understand the rights that are allowed. Continue reading below to learn more and contact an experienced Pennsylvania student’s rights attorney if you feel your rights have been infringed upon.

Can a Public University Refuse to Support the National Guard?

Recently, thousands of protesters gathered on West Chester University’s campus in Pennsylvania to protest police brutality and systemic racism. Due to Governor Tom Wolf’s order, the National Guard arrived at the campus. As a result of this, there was a push back from West Chester students, faculty, and alumni, causing Wolf to remove the troops. This begs the question: can a public university refuse the support of the National Guard?

The issue of the National Guard on college campuses can go back decades. While the Third Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits quartering troops in private homes, West Chester University is a public institution. That means it is required to comply with the governor’s orders. 

What Rights do I Have as a Protester on School Grounds?

The First Amendment of the Constitution allows the freedom of speech without restriction, even if it is controversial. The right is protected in traditional “public forums” such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. It can also take place in public locations or private property. However, it is important to know that private property owners can make their own rules regarding a person’s freedom of speech on their grounds. This goes for private colleges and universities as well. If the rules are disobeyed, a protester can be ordered off the grounds and arrested for trespassing if they refuse. 

Contact our Firm

Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.

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