bong hits - Morse v Frederick No 06-278(U.S(2007 Page 1...

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Morse v. Frederick, No. 06-278 (U.S. 6/25/2007) (2007) Page 1 DEBORAH MORSE, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. JOSEPH FREDERICK No. 06-278. Supreme Court of United States. Argued March 19, 2007. Decided June 25, 2007. At a school-sanctioned and school- supervised event, petitioner Morse, the high school principal, saw students unfurl a banner stating "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS," which she regarded as promoting illegal drug use. Consistent with established school policy prohibiting such messages at school events, Morse directed the students to take down the banner. When one of the students who had brought the banner to the event—respondent Frederick—refused, Morse confiscated the banner and later suspended him. The school superintendent upheld the suspension, explaining, inter alia, that Frederick was disciplined because his banner appeared to advocate illegal drug use in violation of school policy. Petitioner school board also upheld the suspension. Frederick filed suit under 42 U. S. C. §1983, alleging that the school board and Morse had violated his First Amendment rights. The District Court granted petitioners summary judgment, ruling that they were entitled to qualified immunity and that they had not infringed Frederick's speech rights. The Ninth Circuit reversed. Accepting that Frederick acted during a school-authorized activity and that the banner expressed a positive sentiment about marijuana use, the court nonetheless found a First Amendment violation because the school punished Frederick without demonstrating that his speech threatened substantial disruption. It also concluded that Morse was not entitled to qualified immunity because Frederick's right to display the banner was so clearly established that a reasonable principal in Morse's position would have understood that her actions were unconstitutional. Held: Because schools may take steps to safeguard those entrusted to their care from speech that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use, the school officials in this case did not violate the First Amendment by confiscating the pro-drug banner and suspending Frederick. Pp. 5-15. (a) Frederick's argument that this is not a school speech case is rejected. The event in question occurred during normal school hours and was sanctioned by Morse as an approved social event at which the district's student- conduct rules expressly applied. Teachers and administrators were among the students and were charged with supervising them. Frederick stood among other students across the street from the school and directed his banner toward the school, making it plainly visible to most students. Under these circumstances, Frederick cannot claim he was not at school. Pp. 5-6. (b) The Court agrees with Morse that those
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This note was uploaded on 02/05/2011 for the course BULE 302 taught by Professor Demory during the Spring '10 term at George Mason.

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bong hits - Morse v Frederick No 06-278(U.S(2007 Page 1...

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