Dr. Sonya S. Shepherd
EDU 520 Education and the Law
July 22, 2012
Every child and young person has a right to an education. Along with those rights students, have the responsibilities to follow rules. If rules get broken schools can impose punishments to try to correct the behaviors from happening again. Schools must let the students be able to voice their opinions on whether the punishment is fair. The purpose of this paper is to examine three (3) current rulings about different types of discipline in public schools. Next summarize the cases and the court’s decision for each case. Finally give an opinion whether for or against the court’s decision and justify the position.
Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser
Michael Fraser a student at Bethel High School made a speech in front of an assembly that was considered to be lewd. In reaction to the speech, he was suspended from school. Michael Fraser brought suit against the school in a U.S. district court, claiming that his First Amendment right to freedom of speech had been violated. (Essex p. 51, 2012) The Supreme Court said Bethel High School officials in Washington did not violate the First Amendment by punishing Matthew Fraser for a campaign speech that was considered lewd. Both of the lower courts had ruled for Fraser because there was no disruption following the speech given in the school auditorium. Because it was a school sponsored activity, the Supreme Court said school officials had the right to punish the risqué content of his speech.
While students are afforded the First Amendment freedoms of speech and expression, they are still answerable for their actions when they are offensive to others. Matthew Fraser 's behavior was disruptive to the educational process. Fraser was in a public high school and at a school-sponsored activity. He was under the authority of the school, not standing on a street corner. Schools must have
References: ABAJournal.com: "Students Disciplined for Fake MySpace Profiles of Principals Get 3rd Circuit Rehearing" Cooper, Madeleine Arsenault. BONG HiTS 4 JESUS . . . IN CANADA? The Implications of Morse v. Frederick for Student Free Speech in the United States and Canada, Education & Law Journal, Volume 18, Number 1, July 2008, 57. Essex, E. L. School Law and the Public Schools: A Practical Guide for Educational Leaders. 5th ed. Boston MA: Allyn and Bacon, 2012.