Knight survey finds mixed bag for First Amendment

Monday, September 18, 2006

“Future of the First Amendment,” a new Knight Foundation survey, finds that
American high school students “know more about the First Amendment than they did
two years ago,” yet are “increasingly polarized in how they feel about it,”
according to the foundation's Web

USA TODAY reported yesterday that 72% of more than 14,000 students surveyed
said they had taken a course that included discussion of the First Amendment.

But the survey of 34 high schools also found that 45% of surveyed students said
“the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees,” USA TODAY said.

The 45% figure is an increase from the 35% who expressed a skeptical view in an
original 2004 study by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

However, student backing for some press freedoms did increase:

  • 30% said the press has too much freedom (previously 32%).

  • 54% said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government
    approval (previously 51%).

  • 64% said high school student newspapers should be allowed to report
    controversial subjects without approval by authorities (previously 58%).