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I was able to locate Morse v Frederick, it’s an interesting case but not too far

by | Nov 24, 2021 | Other : legal | 0 comments

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I was able to locate Morse v Frederick, it’s an interesting case but not too far off from the Bonner case. A high school student went to a school-supervised event and peacefully protested with a banner reading “Bong hits 4 Jesus”. In the Bonner case it was not a school event but a city event she protested at. The principle confiscated the banner and suspended the student for a period of 10 days. The event was not on school campus but was in the immediate proximity. In the Bonner case, the student didn’t get in trouble the day of the event, but when the principle saw her picture in the school paper. That gave a clearer idea of how disruptive the banner was in Morse v Frederick. Clearly, his banner was disruptive. However, it’s fair to assume that the offence was due to the mentioning of a religious icon and not the drug use itself. If the banner had motioned Allah, Jehovah, or the Spaghetti strainer monster behind the moon taking bong hits, would it have gotten such a strict reaction?
Compared to the Tinker v Des Moines case, the two messages are very different. Though both students were using their right to peacefully protest, the difference in subject matter must be taken into account. Though I’m a strong believer that none of the children involved with any of these cases were at fault, it must be said that promoting the use of a controlled substance and protesting the Vietnam war draft are very different things. It almost seems unfair to group them together.
West Virginia State Board v. Barnette, 1943 was in a similar vein. The case revolved around schools mandatory policy to recite the pledge of allegiance every morning. Students of many different faiths contested that it breached their religiose freedoms to force them to pledge to a flag and a country above their god. The courts found that it is illegal to force someone to pledge allegiance and that students do have a right to their First Amendment rights.
response 150 words
Morse v Frederick is probably the case that is most similar to Sonny’s case. The student had a banner that said, “Bong hits 4 Jesus.” He was suspended for promoting drugs. The court was a bit split on this case. The ruling was 5-4. The court decided that school administration can limit speech when it comes to certain things, like illegal drugs. They tried to use Tinker v Des Moines in this case, but the court didn’t go for it because it was not a political statement. The court stated that schools can “take steps to safeguard those entrusted to their care from speech that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use.”
I think this case could be used against Sonny’s case. I do, however, think that they are slightly different. Sonny wasn’t encouraging the illegal use of drugs. She was stating that marijuana should be legalized. That is more of a political statement than it is trying to encourage people to break the law. She just wants the law changed.
Tinker v Des Moines is relevant to the Bonner case because they are both about student(s) expressing their opinion by displaying it. For the students in Tinker, they wore armbands. Sonny used a poster. Justice Fortas said in the opinion, “a prohibition against expression of opinion, without any evidence that the rule is necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others, is not permissible under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” They could use this to win the case.
Bethel School District v. Fraser is another case that is relevant to the Bonner case. In this case, a student was conducting a speech at a voluntary school-sponsored assembly during school hour. He used sexually suggestive language that a lot of the faculty found to be inappropriate, especially for the younger students that were there. The court ruled in the schools favor because they believed that the language he used was unnecessary and was disruptive to the school’s learning environment. Justice Burger wrote the opinion and stated, “The undoubted freedom to advocate unpopular and controversial views in schools and classrooms must be balanced against the society’s countervailing interest in teaching students the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior. Even the most heated political discourse in a democratic society requires consideration for the personal sensibilities of the other participants and audiences.” Although the student lost, we could use this case because the court had stated that they cannot hinder political discourse and controversial opinions. Because Sonny was not using offensive language, but was stating a political opinion, it is not something that she should be punished for.

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