Teenagers Have Rights, Too

Schools shouldn't use high court ruling to silence 'disruptive' students
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2008 7:10 PM CDT
Students protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building March 19, 2007 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – "Teenagers have constitutional rights." That shouldn’t be controversial, but several schools are in court arguing that the First Amendment doesn't apply to students, writes Frank LoMonte in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Morse v. Frederick set a precedent last year, when Supreme Court judges ruled that students could be punished for a “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner—even though it was off school grounds.

With the same logic, a Connecticut appeals court has decided that a student can be punished for posting a blog against a school board decision. The court called the post “disruptive” to the school. But there are many disruptive things students can and should be free to say, LoMonte argues. “If schools want to put court-approved muzzles on kids, then we'd better speak for them—loud and clear.”