Grade 12

Should Online Hate Speech Be Censored?

Should online hate speech be censored?
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This lesson meets standards for ISTE.

Hate speech can be both distasteful and offensive, but in many countries it isn't illegal -- it's protected as free speech. But should it be? Many people worry that tolerance of hate speech, especially online, has led to acts of actual violence and hate crimes. But if hate speech is banned, who gets to decide what qualifies or doesn't qualify? Pose these questions for students, and help them think through the importance of both respect for others and free speech.

Students will be able to:
  • Explain whether hate speech is protected under the "freedom of speech" clause of the First Amendment.
  • Identify the pros and cons of censoring online hate speech.
  • Take a position on whether they think online hate speech should be protected or censored, and support it with compelling reasons.

Lesson Snapshot

  Estimated time: 55 mins.
Free to Hate?
20 mins.
Pros and Cons of Censorship
20 mins.
What's Your Policy?
15 mins.

What You'll Need

Family resources available in Spanish
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Lesson Slides
Student Handout: Free to Hate? Student Version Answer Key
Lesson Quiz Student Version Answer Key
Take-home resources
Family Activity
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