Bong Hits 4 Jesus
He filed suit, seeking the removal of this incident from his records and financial compensation. He lost at the district level, but won in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Kenneth Starr (of Clinton and Lewinskygate fame) decided to represent the school district free of charge and sought Supreme Court review of the verdict. His wish was granted, and the Court will consider this case in late February, with a decision expected by the end of June.
The issue here is twofold. One, did the student's "pro-drug" message represent a substantial disruption to the school environment to justify punishment for political speech? Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) created this exception, and it was later applied in both Bethel v. Fraser (1986) and Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1987).
The second issue is one of jurisdiction. Does a school adminstrator have the right to punish students for speech and expressive behavior that occurs off-campus? Social networking sites and blogs have brought this issue to the fore recently, and although this case assumes a more classic example of expressive speech, the precedent that emerges from the Juneau case could implicate a plethora of digital age issues.
We'll be tracking this issue laboriously over the coming months, so visit this blog, our timely news feed on our museum web site, and a special exhibit scheduled to open in February highlighting student work in line with the five freedoms of the First Amendment.