In the court case of Morse v. Frederick, a high school student named Joseph Frederick held up a banner with the words “Bong hits 4 Jesus”. Frederick’s held this sign up during a school organized event. The principal of the school, Deborah Morse, confiscated the sign.
Morse claimed her actions were reasonable because Fredrick was promoting drug use at a school event. She claimed that the school’s policy strictly states that students who promote the use of drugs can face the consequence. Frederick’s sued under 42 U.S.
C. 1983, the federal civil rights statute, alleging a violation of his First Amendment right to freedom of speech. After investigation of the situation, the court ruled in favour of Morse.
The court claimed there was no constitutional violation. However, Morse punished Fredrick’s for his message for his message, rather than causing a disturbance. The circuit court ruled that Morse’s punishment was unconstitutional. After looking at the decision of the court, I believe this decision was based on Judicial Restraint. Although Fredrick’s act could be protected under the first amendment for free speech. The facts stating he was at a school organized event led to the court ruling that school officials can prohibit students from displaying obscene images or messages promoting the use of drugs. This is Judicial Restraint because the court ruled based on the constitution and declared that it did not violate the constitution itself. However, it did violate school rules and the school officials are in fact allowed to limit what people can say display and protest.
I think this ruling made an impact on protests in general. The fact that you are not allowed to protest certain things at school gives the opportunity to those kids to reach out to a broader audience. I agree that he shouldn’t have brought his sign to a school organized event. However, I believe that if Fredrick’s had protested in a different environment his message could have gotten less hate.