Over five years have passed since high school senior Joseph Frederick was suspended for 10 days by school principal Deborah Morse after refusing her request to take down a 14-foot banner he was displaying at a school-sanctioned event which read “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS.” Born as a seemingly trivial civil lawsuit in which Frederick sued the school for violating his First Amendment rights to free speech, the case made its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the long-awaited ruling of Morse v. Frederick has finally been released. In a 5-4 split decision, the court ruled in favor of Morse and upheld the school board’s original ruling that Morse was acting within her rights and did not violate Frederick’s First Amendment rights by taking away his banner and suspending him for 10 days. The controversial decision has led followers of the case to question the future of student speech rights. The story began at the Olympic Torch Relay as it passed through Juneau, Alaska on January 24, 2002. Joseph Frederick was late for school went directly to meet up with his friends at the parade, where they held the infamous banner high for all to see. After school principal Deborah Morse noticed the banner, she told Frederick to put it away, which she later explained in court was because she “was concerned it could be interpreted as advocating illegal drug activity to his schoolmates who were across the street from Frederick in plain view.” After he refused to comply, Ms. Morse confiscated his banner and punished Frederick with 10 days of suspension (later reduced to 8) for violating the school policy against illegal drug advocacy. After the school administration turned down his appeal, Frederick took the case to the District Court of Alaska and sued th... ... middle of paper ... ...school-supervised events. The court also relied upon the ruling in Kuhlmeir in that the special circumstances of the case would decide whether or not the speech was protected. Because Frederick admitted the message he displayed was simply to gain the attention of TV reporters at the event (and thus his speech was not regarded as political speech), the Court alleged the phrase "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" could have reasonably been viewed as promoting illegal drug use. As such, the state had an "important" if not "compelling" interest in prohibiting/punishing student speech that reasonably could be viewed as promoting illegal drug use. The decision thus ensured that public schools may "take steps to safeguard those entrusted to their care from speech that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use" without fear of violating a student's First Amendment rights.
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During the Olympic Torch Relay through Juneau, Alaska on January 24, 2002 Senior Joseph Frederick displayed a banner saying “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” (Facts and Case Summary: Morse v. Frederick). This presented an issue with the principal, Deborah Morse, who told Frederick to not display the banner because it could be interpreted as encouraging illegal drug activity at a school sponsored event (Facts and Case Summary: Morse v. Frederick). Frederick refused to obey Morse and so the banner was confiscated from him and he was suspended from school for 10days based upon the violation of a school policy which forbids the advocacy of illegal drug usage on banners or other materials which is supported by current law (Facts and Case Summary: Morse v. Frederick). Joseph Frederick brought suit against his principal for violation of the first amendment freedom of speech stating his banner was not intended to promote illegal drug activity but an attempt to catch the attention of television cameras (Facts and Case Summary: Morse v. Frederick).
Matthew's father appealed the school district's actions on behalf of his son to the federal district court. He alleged a violation of his First Amendment right to freedom of speech and sought both injunctive relief and monetary damages. The District Court held that the school's sanctions violated respondent's right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, that the school's disruptive-conduct rule is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, and that the removal of respondent's name from the graduation speaker's list violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because the disciplinary rule makes no mention of such removal as a possible sanction.
Separate but equal, judicial review, and the Miranda Rights are decisions made by the Supreme Court that have impacted the United States in history altering ways. Another notable decision was made in the Tinker v. Des Moines Case. Ultimately the Supreme Court decided that the students in the case should have their rights protected and that the school acted unconstitutionally. Justice Fortas delivered a compelling majority opinion. In the case of Tinker v Des Moines, the Supreme Court’s majority opinion was strongly supported with great reasoning but had weaknesses that could present future problems.
Through using case laws, the First Amendment, and previous cases, Justice Abe Fortas explains the reasoning behind why the principal was not permissible. In the first two paragraphs, Fortas provides a brief summary stating how the policy banning armbands go against the First Amendment. In the following paragraph, Fortas says, “Only a few of the 18,00 students in the school system wore the black armbands.” When introducing his first argument, he supports this fact explaining how “the work of the schools or any class was [not] disrupted.” As for the fourth paragraph, Justice Fortas provides a counter argument with what the District Court said. The District Court concluded the school authorities were reasonable since it was based upon their fear o...
Mary Beth Tinker was only thirteen years old in December of 1964 when she and four other students were suspended from school because they wore black armbands. The black armbands were a sign of protest against the Vietnam War. The school suspended the students and told them that they could not return to school until they agreed to take off the armbands. The students did not return to school until after the school’s Christmas break, and they wore black the rest of the year, as a sign of protest. The Tinker family, along with other supporters, did not think that the suspension was constitutional and sued the Des Moines Independent Community School District. The Supreme Court’s majority decision was a 7-2 vote that the suspension was unconstitutional (Tinker V. Des Moines).
On March 7, 1980, a teacher at Piscataway High School in Middlesex County, N.J., found two girls smoking in the school lavatory, which was a violation of school code. The teacher took them to the Principles office where they met the Assistant Vice-Principle Theodore Choplick. Under questioning the first girl admitted smoking in the lavatory. The second girl, 14 year old freshman T.L.O., denied that she had smoked in the lavatory. Mr. Choplick then asked to search the girl’s purse. He found a pack of cigarettes. Upon pulling the pack of cigarettes out Mr. Choplick discovered cigarette rolling papers, which is closely associated with marijuana. He proceeded to search the purse to find a small amount of marijuana, a pipe, small empty plastic bags, a substantial amount of money all in one dollar bills, and two letters that implies that she is a dealer. Mr. Choplick notified her mother and the police and told her mother to take her to the police headquarters. A New Jersey juvenile court admitted the evidence, saying that the search of the purse was reasonable under the standard of enforcing school policy and maintaining school discipline. The court found the student, T.L.O., to be a delinquent and sentenced her to a years probation. The appellate Division affirmed the courts decision that there had been no Fourth Amendment violation, T.L.O.
In the fall of 1991, respondent James Acton, then a seventh-grader, signed up to play football at one of the District's grade schools. He was denied participation because he and his parents refused to sign the testing consent forms. The Actons filled suit on the grounds that it violated the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The federal district court ruled in the school district's favor, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, stating that although the district had laid the foundation for a drug policy, the interest was not so compelling as to justify a random testing program. The time between the 1980's and 1990's America saw a dramatic increase in drug use which spread through nearly every community in the nation. Drugs had not previously been a major problem in Vernonia schools. In the mid-to-late 1980's, however, teachers and administrators observed an increase in drug use. Students began to speak out about their attraction to the drug culture, and boasted that there was nothing the school could do about it.
Hammer v. Dagenhart case argued inaApril 15,16, 1918 and decided in June 3, 1918 by the supreme court. This case discussed child labor laws. during the progressive era America turned against what was perceived as brutal child labor, in the early 1900’s it was common for kids to work long hours in different types of industries, they had to work more than 60 hours a week, day and night, this brought the supreme court’s attention and that’s how this case was admitted to be discussed in the supreme court.
How the judicial branch rules in cases relating to the 1st and how they relate that to all the rights of public school students. This includes anything from flag burning to not saluting the flag to practicing religion in school. The main point of this paper is to focus on the fact that schools have a greater ability to restrict speech than government.
Separation of church and state is an issue in the forefront of people’s minds as some fight for their religious freedoms while others fight for their right to not be subjected to the religious beliefs of anybody else. Because public schools are government agencies they must operate under the same guidelines as any other government entity when it comes to religious expression and support, meaning they cannot endorse any specific religion nor can they encourage or require any religious practice. This issue becomes complicated when students exercise their right to free speech by expressing their religious beliefs in a school setting. An examination of First Amendment legal issues that arise when a student submits an essay and drawing of a religious
First we will examine Morse v. Frederick, a case on free speech that took place in 2007 and revolved around the legality of a student to present speech that could be considered as promoting or glorifying illicit drug usage. Public opinion has changed somewhat in recent years, from the widespread, publicly accepted and supported “war on drugs” that began in the Reagan era, to a more “libertarian” approach that is held by many. This Libertarian approach holds that as long as the illicit drug use of a person does not infringe on the rights of others in society, or put others in danger, then the drug usage is acceptable in a private setting and should not be illegal. In the year 2013 as many as 58% of Americans held the opinion that marijuana should ...
In December 1965, a group of students from Des Moines, Iowa met at Christopher Eckhardt’s home in order to plan a protest. During the meeting, the students planned to wear black armbands throughout the holiday season to show public support for a truce in the Vietnam War. However, the principal of the school got word of the planned protest and quickly established a policy that stated any student wearing an armband would be asked to remove it. If they refused to do so, it would result in suspension. On December 16, 1965, the protest began and students Mary Beth Tinker and Christopher Eckhardt wore their armbands to school and were sent home. The following day John Tinker experienced the same result by wearing his armband as well. All three students
In her article “Beyond the Wall of Separation: Church-State in Public Schools”, Martha McCarthy, a Chancellor Professor and chair of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, makes it clear that her aim is to inform educators of the legal history and constitutional precedents of the Establishment clause and Free speech Clause of the First Amendment with an attached understanding of how educators should implement these findings. She summarizes and analyzes key Supreme Court rulings over the course of the 20th century as they pertain to religious expression in public schools. She clarifies the usage of both the Establishment Clause and the Free Speech Clause, including recent changes in trends that have been noted in the Supreme Court during the last decade. From the late 1940’s to the 1990’s most Supreme court rulings focused on the Establishment Clause to the increasing exclusion of the Free Speech Clause such that students were increasingly limited in the ways they were allowed to express themselves in school even in a private manner. In recent years, however, it has been noted that forcing students to suppress their religious expression is itself a religious statement and one that denies the role of religion in people’s lives. McCarthy notes that the public schools must take a neutral stand in relation to religion such that they do not defend or deny its role in people’s lives, either directly or indirectly.
This case involved a public high school student, Matthew Fraser who gave a speech nominating another student for a student elective office. The speech was given at an assembly during school as a part of a school-sponsored educational program in self-government. While giving the speech, Fraser referred to his candidate in what the school board called "elaborate, graphic, and explicit metaphor." After his speech, the assistant principal told Fraser that the school considered the speech a violation of the school's "disruptive-conduct rule." This prohibited conduct that interfered with the educational process, including obscene, profane language or gestures. After Fraser admitted he intentionally had used sexual innuendo in the speech, he was told that he would be suspended from school for three days, and his name would be removed from the list of the speakers at the graduation exercises.
"Protecting Freedom of Expression on the Campus” by Derek Bok, published in Boston Globe in 1991, is an essay about what we should do when we are faced with expressions that are offensive to some people. The author discusses that although the First Amendment may protect our speech, but that does not mean it protects our speech if we use it immorally and inappropriately. The author claims that when people do things such as hanging the Confederate flag, “they would upset many fellow students and ignore the decent regard for the feelings of others” (70). The author discusses how this issue has approached Supreme Court and how the Supreme Court backs up the First Amendment and if it offends any groups, it does not affect the fact that everyone has his or her own freedom of speech. The author discusses how censorship may not be the way to go, because it might bring unwanted attention that would only make more devastating situations. The author believes the best solutions to these kind of situations would be to