Posted in: Students & Educators

What’s “Your Big Idea” about the First Amendment? One high-schooler will win a $2,000 scholarship by sharing their ideas about free speech in an Instagram video.

The SC Bar Young Lawyers Division (YLD) is sponsoring its third annual "Your Big Idea" Scholarship Competition this spring. To enter, students must complete an application and answer one of five prompts about the First Amendment in an Instagram video. The submission deadline has been extended to April 13, 2018 at 5 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity to encourage students to use technology to think critically about their role in society and their rights," said Julie Moore, YLD iCivics Committee Chair.

The contest is open to all 11th and 12th grade public, private and homeschool students in South Carolina. Students must also plan to enroll in a post-secondary institution for the 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 school year.

This year, teachers who want to give their students a head start on the competition can request a lawyer to visit their classrooms to give a lesson. Additionally, the iCivics Committee has prepared digital resources about free speech for students and teachers who want to get involved.

 For more information about the contest or to request a speaker for your classroom, visit http://www.scbar.org/yourbigidea.

###

About the Young Lawyers Division:
The YLD includes all members of the SC Bar under age 36 and those with less than five years membership.

About the South Carolina Bar:
The SC Bar, which has a membership of more than 16,000 lawyers, is dedicated to advancing justice, professionalism and understanding of the law.

Instagram is a trademark of Instagram, LLC in the United States and elsewhere.

Prompts:

  • Does the First Amendment protect a person’s or business's right not to be forced to say, do or create anything expressing a message that the person or business rejects? Consider the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case pending before the United States Supreme Court.
  • Do social media posts constitute speech protected by the First Amendment?  If so, do such protections extend to the social media posts of government officials?  Can a government official block a critic from responding to his or her social media posts?
  • Should the First Amendment protect a professional athlete’s right to kneel during the national anthem?
  • In Texas v. Johnson, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan wrote: "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable." Do you agree?
  • Does the First Amendment protect a university’s decision to prohibit a speaker from addressing a student organization after the university receives complaints from other students that the speaker is offensive?