Freedom Of Speech In Public Schools

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Freedom has been the center of American ideals since the United States gained independence from Great Britain. To protect these ideals, the Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights; which contains the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The document grants American citizens their basic rights and freedoms. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and the right to petition the government without retribution. It directly states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the…show more content…
The majority of high school students are under the age of eighteen and minors have restricted rights outside of those they face on school campuses. For many students in public high schools, speech restrictions are based on the level of disruption it creates for the learning environment. The Supreme Court Case, Bethel School District. No. 403 v. Fraser, 1986 set the Fraser Standard, after a high school senior gave a speech that included lewd references before a student assembly. The court, decided that "the constitutional rights of students in public school are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings" (First Amendment Center). The case set a standard to the extent of student speech poses a threat of disruption when questioned by school officials or the court. Although, this case set the Fraser Standard, courts have issues on how to apply it; some apply it too all vulgar speech and others apply it to speech that is in some way school sponsored. This case affected the outcome for Joseph Fredrick in 2002. On January 24 in 2002, the Olympic Torch Relay passed through Juneau, Alaska. Joseph Fredrick, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School, saw an opportunity to be on television. Fredrick, created a large banner that read ‘BONG HITS 4 JESUS’ to display at the relay. At the relay the high school’s administration supervised their students in attendance. Principal, Deborah Morse, saw the banner and asked Fredrick to put it away because “she was concerned it could be interpreted as advocating illegal drug activity” but Fredrick insisted on displaying the banner (United States Courts). The school has a strict policy which forbids advocating the use of illegal drugs, which Fredrick violated and was suspended for ten days. Fredrick took this situation to the courts but they ruled against his favor because the relay was a
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