Analysis Of Civics: Bethel Vs. Fraser

1156 Words 5 Pages
Vic Noll
Likens 3
January 4th, 2016
Civics CBA: Bethel vs Fraser On April 26, 1983, 17-year-old Matthew Fraser, a senior at Bethel High School in Bethel, Washington, spoke to a school assembly to nominate a classmate for vice president of the student government. Students were required either to attend the assembly or go to study hall. about 600 students attended this assembly, where Fraser gave a lewd, and inappropriate speech riddled with sexual innuendos. some kids laughed, others in aw. Fraser previously consulted teachers on whether this speech was appropriate for school, they believed not. Fraser’s speech consisted of “I know a man who is firm -- he 's firm in his pants, he 's firm in his shirt, his character is firm” as well
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The 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of speech. The Court, in Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969, made clear that "students do not abandon their Constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate." Common speech forms are changing, and school authorities are often a generation or two behind these changes. Schools are also entitled to their own rights for example gun free zones despite the second amendment. In this case their right to prohibit lewd language. Yes individual rights are something that should be taken into account but common good should always be put before one’s individual rights. In this case there are many younger viewers during the speech. Some students hooted and yelled; some by gestures graphically simulated the sexual activities pointedly alluded to in respondent 's speech. Other students appeared to be bewildered and embarrassed by the speech. One teacher reported that, on the day following the speech, she found it necessary to forgo a portion of the scheduled class lesson in order to discuss the speech with the …show more content…
His behavior was heavily disruptive to the educational process, many teachers found it necessary to discuss the speech the following day. I think that Fraser’s punishment was justified, yes the first amendment gives him the right to freedom of speech but i think there is a time and a place for that kind of vulgar language, and school is just not that place. When there are younger children present then you aren 't giving them a good example when using blatant sexual innuendos. Advocating these ideas could be tricky, one of the ways it would be done would with an organized demonstration. This way would get a point across fast and in an organized fashion. This is better than most because of the quick delivery. Another method of advocating would be to create a petition. This would be a bit more chaotic but likely the best way to advocate a position. It would be very quick and efficient with many people able to help advocate the position. Bethel vs Fraser is not about one’s rights. This case is about how one’s rights are revised in educational setting. Schools have the right to prohibit vulgar, lewd, and overly offensive language. This is why Fraser’s right to Freedom of speech did not hold in court.

Works Cited

"Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser." Oyez. Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois
Tech, n.d. Jan 5,

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