Freedom Of Speech In Schools Case Study

2011 Words 9 Pages
How free is a student’s speech? This question has come to the Supreme Court many times, and the responses have varied. Overall, the court has decided that students have their freedom of speech, when it does not affect the school’s curricular activities. The two Supreme Court cases that have had the strongest influence in defining a student’s freedom of speech are Tinker v Des Moines and Hazelwood School District v Kuhlmeier. Tinker was America’s first Supreme Court case defining the extent of students’ speech. This case ruled in favor of students, when the court decided that students have their freedom of speech. This freedom could be limited, however, if a school could reasonably think that a student’s speech would interfere with the school’s …show more content…
A student came to school with a banner reading “Bong hits 4 Jesus,” and the school suspended him for encouraging drug use. When the case reached the Supreme Court, the judges decided that the school could reasonably suspend the student, as his pro-drug message went against the goals of the school (Morse v Frederick). The justices did not view whether the banner would disrupt the school. The fact that the justices did not argue over disruption means they ignored the Tinker Test, and helped restrict students’ speech. Although the Tinker case had an immediately beneficial result it has become less liberating for students in the years after.
Another case important to students’ freedom of speech was Hazlewood Independent School District v Kuhlmeier. The Supreme Court ruled in this case that schools have the right to censor student speech if it “may fairly be characterized as part of the school curriculum (Goldstein),” or it is “poorly written… or unsuitable for immature audiences, or inconsistent with shared values of a civilized social order." As a result of this case, students rights were restricted, and more power was given to

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