Support of First Amendment rights fall among nonwhite high school students


Support for the right to free speech has increased slightly among high school students in the past 15 years, according to a report released last week by the Knight Foundation, but backing of the First Amendment does not across all ethnic, gender and income groups.

According to a report by The College Fix, Race and gender came up as the two main distinguishing factors in the study. Boys and white students were more likely to entirely support the First Amendment, while girls and nonwhite students were more likely to agree that “The first amendment goes too far in its rights and guarantees.”

Nonwhite students are the only group to show a slight decrease in support since 2004: Girls, boys, and white students all saw greater support.

Not surprisingly, students who had taken a class covering the First Amendment were more likely to support its protections, according to Knight, a nonprofit group that promotes journalism.

Around two-thirds of students said they had taken classes that dealt with the First Amendment. This number has remained steady over time, even though the gap in support has narrowed over time between those taking these classes and those not.

The initial Knight survey in 2004 involved more than 100,000 students at “hundreds” of high schools, and subsequent surveys including the most recent have selected roughly 10,000 students at a time “from a randomly drawn sample of 30 to 40 high schools,” according to the report. (The pool of high schools stayed the same through 2016.)


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