A key feature of First Amendment speech analysis in the public schools focuses on speaker identity. Speaker identity can play a crucial role in designing the First Amendment landscape on a variety of issues including the right of speakers to gain access to public school forums for expression, the right of student editors to control the content of school-sponsored publications, and the right of school administrators to permit religious speech in the public school setting. Courts faced with decisions about whether speech in the public school setting is private or government speech must consider the context in which the speech occurs to make this crucial characterization. This fact specific inquiry often turns on subtle distinctions in who initiates the speech and the relationship of the speech to school-approved content or school-sponsored activities.
Sixth Commonwealth Education Law Conference: Critical Issues in Education Law and Policy 69 (2008)