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Pico V. Board of Education

By rob20j Oct 16, 2005 819 Words
Pico v. Board of Educationn

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Board of Education v. Pico discussed the issue of whether the school's board acted morally. The school board decided to remove nine books that they deemed to be anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and just plain filthy. The Supreme Court was asked to decide if the school board had valid reasons to remove these books from the school's library. The books weren't required readings and were optional information for the students to extend their personal interests and thoughts. The First amendment was the main issue that became the focal point of this case. The majority opinion reflected what five judges concluded after they were presented with the case. They agreed that the First amendment imposes limitations on the school boards reasons to remove the books from the library's shelves. Students do not vacate their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression as they enter the school's property. Removing the books implicitly violated the student's rights because there weren't any valid reasons provided by the school board. The school board has the power of deciding which curriculum provides the values associated with its community, but not beyond the environment of the classroom and into the voluntary confines of the library. The petitioner's motivation to remove these books, were fueled by partisan and political factors. The school board didn't have sufficient evidence to remove these books, other than they disliked the ideas contained in the books. This is a violation of the Constitution. The dissenting judges disagreed with the majority opinion because they believed the Board's actions were justified. Judge Mansfield believed that the undisputed evidence of the motivation for the Board's action was perfectly permissible saying that the books were indecent, in bad taste, and unsuitable for educational purposes. His position was proven because he thought the Board acted responsibly and carefully after corresponding due to the process of all parties were concerned. Judge Powell dissented as well and believed that the states and locally elected school boards should have the responsibility for determining educational policy of the public schools and because they are local and democratic institutions.

In Nancy Williard's article she made a misstatement when she said the school board decided to remove some books after from the library after they received a list of objectionable books from a politically conservative organization. The school board made the decision to remove the books after coming to the conclusion that the ideas generated within these books weren't applicable to their community's values. Pico v. Board of Education didn't say anything about a politically conservative organization provided a list for the school board to evaluate, even though the actions taken were politically motivated. She implied that all of the Supreme Court justices agreed with each other. The majority opinion was dissented by several judges who believed that the school board had the responsibility to determine educational policy and as well as the power to determine what resources are available to students. The message of Pico was misconstrued because the majority opinion stated that the educational officials were violating the First amendment and the constitution. Williard implies that it is appropriate for educational officials to exercise good faith when selecting materials, when they are clearly politically motivated biases.

The evidence used by the Court to support its majority opinion came from the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Court's majority opinion raised the issue of whether the student's First amendment rights, had been violated by the school boards officials. The removal of books due to the social, political, and moral beliefs of officials were a violation of the first amendment, because this practice denied the students their rights. Their discretionary power is secondary to the transcendent imperatives of the First amendment. Allowing the school board to conduct suppressing ideas doesn't teach children to respect the diversity of ideas that is fundamental to the American system. Our Constitution doesn't permit the official suppression of ideas. The Court made it clear that the imposition of ideological discipline was not a proper procedure for school authorities. In several ways the Court has used references related towards prior cases to make their decisive decision. The Board of Education v. Barnette stated that in a variety of academic settings the Court has acknowledged the force of the principle that schools, like other enterprises operated by the State, may not be run in a manner as to "prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion." This refers to justify the majority opinion because state operated schools are not practicing totalitarianism. In the American system it is important that students are not forced into learning only what the State decides to communicate with them.

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