ERIC Number: EJ815644
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Supreme Court Update: The Free Speech Rights of Students in the United States Post "Morse v. Frederick"
Russo, Charles J.
Education and the Law, v19 n3-4 p245-253 Sep 2007
Enshrined in the First Amendment as part of the Bill of Rights that was added to the then 4 year old US Constitution in 1791, it should be no surprise that freedom of speech may be perhaps the most cherished right of Americans. If anything, freedom of speech, which is properly treated as a fundamental human right for children, certainly stands out as one of the rights of which Americans are most aware. As important as free speech is to Americans, it is something of a surprise that the Supreme Court did not address its first case involving the free speech rights of students until its 1969 landmark decision in "Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District" ("Tinker"). In "Tinker" the Court recognized that the standard that it developed in "Schenck v. United States" ("Schenck"), a dispute involving national security in the wake of World War I, did not work well for schools. In the almost 40 years since "Tinker", a myriad of courts have examined a wide range of issues involving student speech, whether dealing with symbolic speech, such as dress, or with the spoken and/or written word in school contexts. Most recently, in "Morse v. Frederick" ("Morse") (2007), the Supreme Court relied on all three of its previous cases in concluding that a principal could limit student expressive speech at a school activity when a student unfurled a 14 foot banner that proclaimed "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS". In this article, the author reviews the history of "Morse v. Frederick" and reflects on its potential impact on the school system and students. (Contains 35 notes.)
Descriptors: Freedom of Speech, National Security, Courts, Constitutional Law, Court Litigation, Legislation, Students, Student Rights, Principals
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Intermediate Grades; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Bill of Rights; First Amendment; Tinker v Des Moines Independent School District; United States Constitution