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Document Type

Special Section 2

Theme

SPECIAL SECTION ON THE U. S. SUPREME COURT'S MOST RECENT DECISION ON STUDENT RIGHTS

Abstract

As legal rules go, the US Supreme Court’s 2007 decision Morse v. Frederick (2007) will be fairly easy for school administrators to apply. The First Amendment allows a public school principal to “restrict student speech at a school event, when that speech is reasonably viewed as promoting illegal drug use.” Justice Alito's concurring opinion explained that the rule “goes no further” than speech advocating drug use, and does not authorize punishment for “speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue, including speech on issues such as the wisdom of the war on drugs or of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.” The rule may be straightforward, but the reasoning that generated it is harder to follow.

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