Free Speech in Wisconsin High Schools: A Symposium for High School Administrators

Since 2018, the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy (CSLD) has hosted an annual symposium focusing on the intersection of free speech, the First Amendment, and Wisconsin high schools. This event is designed for Wisconsin high school principals, associate principals, school district superintendents and board members, other school administrators.

The CSLD will host the next Free Speech in Wisconsin High Schools symposium
June 24-26, 2021. Registration will open Spring 2021.

Updates for the 2021 symposium will be posted on this page.

Why a symposium on free speech in Wisconsin high schools?

Educate

The Free Speech in Wisconsin High Schools symposium seeks to provide secondary school administrators with a critical understanding of the rights, freedoms, and limitations of students, teachers, and citizens.

Founding Fathers around table

Equip

The symposium seeks to provide administrators with practical tools, resources, and best practices for addressing freedom of speech issues they may encounter at their home institutions.

Madison East High School, designed by architect Frank Riley in the "Collegiate-Gothic" style in Wisconsin's capital city

Previous speakers

  • Donald Downs: Emeritus Professor of Political Science at UW–Madison
  • Diana Hess: Dean of the School of Education at UW–Madison
  • Luke Sheahan: Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duquesne University
  • Timothy Shiell: Professor, University of Wisconsin–Stout; Director, Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovations
  • Adam Kissel:  The Philanthropy Roundtable, formerly Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education at the U.S. Department of Education

Previous topics

  • The First Amendment: A Contested History
  • New Technologies & Students’ Rights
  • Student Rights and the First Amendment
  • Preparing High School Students for Rights & Responsibilities after High School
  • The Significance of Free Speech Rationales

This was better than professional development. It was great learning. As principals, we don't have the opportunity to engage like this.

St. Croix Falls High School, 2018

This was better than professional development. It was great learning. As principals, we don't have the opportunity to engage like this.

St. Croix Falls High School, 2018

The discussions and conversation [were] amazing.

Wisconsin Dells High School, 2019

I found the conference to be immensely valuable and truly appreciated all the hospitality that was a part of it.

Tri-County High School, 2019

The entire symposium was an enjoyable learning experience. I liked the format especially the ability to listen and learn from one another. I enjoyed the topic and the variety of perspectives.

Reuther Central High School, 2019
Are you a Wisconsin high school administrator? Let us know you’re interested in this opportunity by emailing us at csld@wisc.edu.