The Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech — well, sort of.
An Alaskan teen thought he was displaying a symbol of the first amendment, but got a lesson in law from the Supreme Court instead. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against high school student Joseph Frederick for his display of a banner reading ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ at a school event, deciding that schools can prohibit speech that advocates drug use.
The student maintains that the banner that resulted in his suspension from school was not intended to promote drug use.
FOX wants to know what you think — Should schools be allowed to limit speech in certain circumstances? What do you think those circumstances should be?
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's what some FOX Fans are saying:
"Schools should ban all banners no matter what they are. If you display a banner, you will be suspended. Period. You go to school as a privilege in this country to learn, not to challenge your free speech. Why are we so afraid to discipline our children?" — Bob (Ellensburg, WA)
"If we twist the meaning of 'freedom of speech' to mean any one can do or say any thing at any time, then that is called anarchy. And anarchy is certainly not what our Founding Fathers had on their minds." — Chris
"Hell no. A student should be allowed to speak his mind. We're beginning to sound like Cuba." — T.W.
"School speech should be decent, wholesome, uplifting and beneficial to other people as well as the one speaking. If a student cannot state a thought with clarity with no doubt as to the goodness of his intended speech which will promote high learning in a good, safe atmosphere; then schools have to set guidelines." — Diane,
"When they are attending school, paying for it out of their pocket (not the taxpayer's), and are of legal age, then they can speak out, but not until then." — John
"Kids shouldn't enjoy the same rights as adults because they are too irresponsible, thus they live at home and at school in dictatorships. It must be this way for the good of kids and society." — Chris (Buchtel, OH)
"We are supposed to have 'freedom of speech' because the Founding Fathers knew that in Europe the kings would not allow such a thing. They wanted to found a country that had people who were free to speak without fear of being killed. Now, a student or anyone can be faulted for using the name, God or Jesus, while speaking. This is very frightening. If the government schools dared to teach American history, the students would know that they could speak without being put out of school or from making a graduating speech. They would also learn how our citizens have fought dictators all over the world to protect our freedoms for over 200 years. This is what makes you proud of our ancestors and what they went through to keep America as it was planned to be." — M.J. (Dallas, TX)
"I agree with the Judge completely. The student deliberately and blatantly defied school policy by promoting drug use. The way the First Amendment is being butchered and used to promote personal agendas these days is a disgrace. Now watch every little anti-whatever group step up. Disgusting!" — April (Illinois)
"You can't have an 'anything goes' policy at a school with regards to 'free speech.' This was not a 'free speech' issue; this kid wasn't directing his 'Bong Hits for Jesus' at the government, which is dealt with by the First Amendment. Schools should have the right to limit speech that is counter-productive to the education of our youth. Sometimes they don't exercise that right correctly, but in this case they did." — Wince (Clermont, FL)
"Certainly, schools should have authority to limit certain speech, particularly speech which promotes breaking the law, as in this case. I suspect that the intentions were more in line with just being wise, than actually promoting drug use, but the message was clear. The Supremes finally got one right." — Phil (East Greenbush, NY)
"It is a real joy to see some sane, intelligent rulings finally coming out of the Supreme Court." — Sharon (Clearlake, CA)