Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cert. Granted In Student Speech Case

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in a case involving free speech rights of high school students. The Court's ultimate decision will impact religious, as well as other, speech in high schools. And the speech at issue in the case, Morse v. Frederick, Case No. 06-278, arguably had a religious aspect to it. In 2002 in Juneau, Alaska, high school students were released from classes to watch the torch for the Winter Olympics-- on its way to Salt Lake City-- pass by. In hopes of getting his banner on television, student Joseph Frederick unfurled a banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus". (For the uninitiated, "Bong Hit" refers to smoking marijuana using a water pipe.) School principal Deborah Morse tore down Frederick's banner and suspended him for 10 days. Frederick sued Morse for damages, and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his claim. Yesterday's Baltimore Sun reports on the case.