Saturday, March 11, 2006

A win for free speech

Love that Ninth Circuit court.
This Ninth Circuit appeal revisits the complicated issue of free speech in a school setting. The administration of Juneau-Douglas High School thought it would be a nice idea to release the students from school one morning so that they could watch the Olympic torch pass by. Senior Joseph Frederick did not make it to school that day, but he did make it to a viewing point across the street from the school, where he unfurled a banner reading, "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." The principal was not thrilled with this display, so she confiscated the banner and suspended Frederick for ten days. Frederick filed suit alleging that his rights had been violated, but the district court dismissed his claims.
The Ninth Circuit reveresed the lower court, ruling that this was a school speech case because school was in session. Further the court found the school’s effort to discourage student drug use does not qualify as an educational mission and thus the prinicipal is not protected under qualified immunity of the relaxed standard for evaluating school censorship.

Glad there's at least one court willing to stick up for students. Just because they're kids, doesn't mean they don't have rights.

[hat tip Vig]


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