Freedom of Speech Vs. Civility

Meagahn Henfied
Professor M
ENC 1102: Rhetorical Analyis
6 March 2024
There is a thin line between democracy and tyranny, discipline and freedom, civility and censoring within our school systems. What will it take for us to draw the line? Joan Wallace Scott, a professor emerita at the Institute for Advanced Studies School of Social Science, sheds light on how a system built to educate our children, also has the very power to eradicate their individuality along with their right to freedom if that line remains undrawn. In her article titled “Freedom of Speech v. Civility,” Scott evokes a stream of emotions that call readers to remember their beliefs and values of what is supposed to a democratic system for all, both young and old. She reminds us that students should not be silenced, because regardless of age, location or authority we are all worthy of the freedom promised to us by the constitution. To fully drive her point, and resonate with her audience, Scott appeals to the readers’ sentimental values standards.
Scott creates an atmosphere where emotional strings are tugged, and the very beliefs and values we stand firm on, are put into question. By utilizing pathos as the main rhetoric in her article, the author sparks a thought provoking debate, relatable to every person regardless of their stance. She reminds readers that the “foundational values of democracy are equality, fairness and respect for differences” setting the tone for the evidence she will provide to show why it is unfair that students have been silenced. By placing these three concepts of democracy at the backs of the minds of her audience, she forces them to constantly think about what they would want if they were in the shoes of those oppressed. Scott goes on to say the silencing of students correlates with how “civility has become a code word for censoring political speech.” By making this connection the author raises the question, are these silenced students cases of simple discipline or all acts of a system slowly making us all sheep, conforming to what they deem should and should not be said. Strategically displaying case after case, Scott connects to the emotions of the audience.
In addition, Scott’s purpose of her article proves to be educating, expanding awareness and a call to action. The author wants readers to be informed on their right to freedom of speech and encourages us to think on which course of action to take when that right is challenged. Students, parents and officials should be well versed on what the constitution allows and what it protects us all from. Knowledge is power, and the only way for us to do better, is if we know better. In knowing better Scott also however, considers the fact that freedom of speech can be negatively utilized when she mentions “hatespeech (racist, sexist, homophobic, or religious bullying) is also protected by the First Amendment.’’ Even these situations, although immoral are also a part of the call to action. They should be used as teaching moments, to help us all understand how to use our right to freedom correctly.
Although Scott’s intended audience can vary, her appeal to reader’s emotions, beliefs and values seem to focus on school officials, parents and students. In her opening paragraph Scott asks the question “When school officials punish these different kinds of expression, what recourse do the students have? And what about their parents—where is the line between parental authority and a school’s jurisdiction?” In just a few questions she grabs the attention of not only students and parents but school officials involved as well. Her engagement with students in the article leans toward informing students of their rights under the constitution. It can also be assumed she is encouraging those being censored to stand up for their rights, even if it requires seeking higher authority, as seen in the case of, Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School Districtinforms. Parents are drawn to take action, taking back their control on the environment the very children they birthed are exposed to. Parents should intercede and stand by the democratic rules and regulations of the nation they chose to raise them in. The audience of school officials here are forced to take a look at their lack of empathy and understanding. They are forced to realize not everything is black and white, and children should be reprimanded with that in mind. Understanding they have a duty to fulfill, not only to their school but to the constitution of the country we live in, after all, is this not the land of free, which requires the home of the brave. Scott calls all audiences to be brave enough to take a stand against oppression, students primarily but for all.
I share Scott’s frustration and stand with her in defense of student free speech. In a world where we are made to believe there is only black and white, we must use pathos to evoke the emotions that show gray and remind us all, we are human. We should continue to write such pieces, and advocate for students in a way that shines light on injustices being carried out in our school system. If the children are truly our future, we must give them the freedom of speech and expression with true democratic guidance to do so. A line must be drawn somewhere, and when drawn, should be bold enough for everyone to see, so that no student should ever be silenced in the name of “civility.”
Works Cited
Scott, Joan Wallach. “Freedom of Speech v. Civility.” The Nation, 11 Feb. 2016, Freedom of Speech v. Civility | The Nation


Best Custom Essay Writing Services

Looking for unparalleled custom paper writing services? Our team of experienced professionals at is here to provide you with top-notch assistance that caters to your unique needs.

We understand the importance of producing original, high-quality papers that reflect your personal voice and meet the rigorous standards of academia. That’s why we assure you that our work is completely plagiarism-free—we craft bespoke solutions tailored exclusively for you.

Why Choose

  • Our papers are 100% original, custom-written from scratch.
  • We’re here to support you around the clock, any day of the year.
  • You’ll find our prices competitive and reasonable.
  • We handle papers across all subjects, regardless of urgency or difficulty.
  • Need a paper urgently? We can deliver within 6 hours!
  • Relax with our on-time delivery commitment.
  • We offer money-back and privacy guarantees to ensure your satisfaction and confidentiality.
  • Benefit from unlimited amendments upon request to get the paper you envisioned.
  • We pledge our dedication to meeting your expectations and achieving the grade you deserve.

Our Process: Getting started with us is as simple as can be. Here’s how to do it:

  • Click on the “Place Your Order” tab at the top or the “Order Now” button at the bottom. You’ll be directed to our order form.
  • Provide the specifics of your paper in the “PAPER DETAILS” section.
  • Select your academic level, the deadline, and the required number of pages.
  • Click on “CREATE ACCOUNT & SIGN IN” to provide your registration details, then “PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.”
  • Follow the simple payment instructions and soon, our writers will be hard at work on your paper. is dedicated to expediting the writing process without compromising on quality. Our roster of writers boasts individuals with advanced degrees—Masters and PhDs—in a myriad of disciplines, ensuring that no matter the complexity or field of your assignment, we have the expertise to tackle it with finesse. Our quick turnover doesn’t mean rushed work; it means efficiency and priority handling, ensuring your deadlines are met with the excellence your academics demand.

ORDER NOW and experience the difference with, where excellence meets timely delivery.