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Special Section 2

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

Abstract

In 2007, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in the closely watched case of Morse v. Frederick, better known as the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case. This First Amendment case was closely watched by public school administrators because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had earlier overruled a lower court’s finding that no First Amendment violation had occurred and instead ruled that the school principal, in fact any reasonable administrator, should have known that she was violating the student’s rights, and accordingly, that she could not assert qualified immunity as a defense to damages, including punitive damages and attorney fees This case has major implications for public school systems and students nationwide. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court in an opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts, created another narrow exception to the standard set forth in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, issued in 1969.

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