CPN7paper - Cooper 1 Andrea Cooper Tyler Clever CPN 101-14...

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Cooper 1 Andrea Cooper Tyler Clever CPN 101-14 Draft April 17, 2008 Free Speech for Students It is a well-known fact that students’ rights are limited when they are in a school environment. However, there is a debate over whether these restrictions impede upon a person’s right to free speech. In Juneau, Alaska, a high school student, Joseph Frederick, was suspended for displaying a banner that read, “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” The Olympic torch was being run in front of the high school and Frederick had decided to display the banner in order to get attention from the many television cameras that would be around. When his principle, Deborah Morse, saw the banner, she walked across the street and tore it down. Frederick was suspended for 10 days. Morse believed that the banner was advocating drug use, which went against the school’s anti- drug policy. Frederick sued, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated. In the end, the court ruled in favor of the school, claiming that Frederick’s sign was advocating drug use and interfered with the schools educational mission. Although the banner may have been interpreted as a promotion of drug use, the court should have sided with Frederick. Frederick should not be punished because his banner was not meant to advocate anything. According to Frederick, it “was a nonsensical message he had seen on a snowboard….he was merely trying to get on TV, and…intended for the banner to proclaim his right to say anything at all” (“Ruling in Alaska”). The fact that the banner had the words “bong hits” on it caused the court to side with the school on the belief that the sign promoted illegal drug use. The superintendent of the high school made a statement saying that, “the common-sense understanding of the phrase ‘bong hits’ is that it is a reference to a means of smoking marijuana”
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Cooper 2 (Morse v. Frederick ). It is ironic that it became a Supreme Court case because one of Frederick’s reasons for the banner was to show that he has the ability to say what he wants. Obviously, he doesn’t. Had Frederick given a reason or meaning for the banner, he may not have been in as much trouble as he was, but it was not supporting the legalization of marijuana nor was it based on a religious belief, therefore, he was punished for the advocacy of drug use. Another issue of this case is whether Frederick was in school at the time or if he had skipped.
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CPN7paper - Cooper 1 Andrea Cooper Tyler Clever CPN 101-14...

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