THE CONNECTICUT FOUNDATION
FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT
2020 High School Essay Contest
First Prize: $1,000
Second Prize: $500
Third Prize: $300
Honorable Mentions: $50
Choose one of the following topics:
- In October 2019, two University of Connecticut students were charged under a state hate-crime law for yelling the N-word on campus. The comments were not directed at a specific individual. Should these students have been charged with a criminal offense? Does the First Amendment protect offensive speech?
- The Killingly Board of Education has voted to keep the “Redmen” mascot for Killingly High School although it was previously rejected as a racist symbol. Students, teachers and Native American groups had urged the board not to do this. In Killingly, the dispute became an election issue last fall. Is it a First Amendment issue?
- In most communities, student publications are subject to approval by faculty advisers, school principals and school superintendents. When a subject is controversial, their instinct is often toward censorship to avoid criticism. Should Connecticut have a state law that protects student free expression?
Essays must be at least 400 words but no more than 600 words and emailed no later than March 31, 2020, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Essays should include the student’s full name, school, grade and teacher email contact information. Winners will be announced by May 15, 2020.