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Supreme Court: Student Speech Rights May Be Limited

By Admin on June 25, 2007 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that schools may limit students' rights to free speech under the First Amendment when the student's expression could be interpreted as advocating drug use. Writing for a 5-4 majority in Morse v. Frederick , Chief Justice John Roberts wrote "[b]ecause 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 [Joseph] Frederick." Frederick was a high school senior in Juneau, Alaska, when he held up a 14-foot-long "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner at a school-sanctioned public event. The principal at Frederick's high school confiscated the banner, interpreting it as promoting a pro-drug message, and suspended Frederick.

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