Morse vs Frederick

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May 5, 2011
Majority Opinion
Case: Morse V Frederick
After reviewing the case of Morse v Frederick, on a vote of 4-0, the court concluded that the school officials did not violate the First Amendment by confiscating the pro-drug banner and suspending the student responsible for it.  On January 24, 2002, Principal Deborah Morse of Juneau-Douglass High School created a school-sanctioned event. This event allowed students to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay. The torch was on its way to Salt Lake City Utah, when Joseph Frederick, in front of the televised event, revealed a banner that read, “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS.” Morse removed the banner from Frederick and suspended him for ten days. Frederick believed that Morse’s actions violated his First Amendment rights. Morse believed that because this was a school event, and students must obey school rules, she should be able to give Frederick the punishment of suspension. Another case similar to Morse V. Frederick was the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District back in 1969. Three students in Des Moines, Iowa wore armbands that protested the U.S.’s policies in Vietnam. They were suspended; however they believed they, like Frederick, were practicing their first Amendment rights. The Supreme Court sided with Tinker because they said that schools have the right to impose limits on the First Amendment. However, the kids shouldn’t have been suspended since they didn’t violate any school rules.

Frederick argues that he is simply practicing his first amendment rights, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” However, schools do have the right to impose limits on the First Amendment in order to protect their students from harm, violence, ect. Morse was simply protecting...
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