Morse v. Fredrick
Date of Action: January 23, 2002
Region: North America
Location: Juneau, Alaska
Description of Artwork: Not provided yet.
The Incident: A high school student was suspended for displaying a banner reading "BONG HITS 4 JESUS" at a parade for which students were permitted to leave school.
Results of Incident: A supreme court case affirmed the right of educators to suppress student speech at school events which promote drug use.
Various factors surrounding the case caused it to be a complex decision for the court. The student was not on school property or in any way disrupting school activities, but was considered to be attending a school event. The court ruled that the incident can be interpreted under the school speech doctrines (a set of precedents on first amendment issues in schools already decided by the courts). The result was a narrow ruling that school officials can restrict student speech which promotes drug use at school sponsored events. This case is an example of the supreme court's preference for issuing narrow rulings on first amendment issues. By using this strategy, the courts can rule on a particular issue while avoiding setting a broad precedent for the future.