Court Limits Student Speech

High Court decides 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' case in favor of buzz-kill principal
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2007 10:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – Schools may limit student speech that advocates criminal activity, even off campus, the Supreme Court ruled today. The case centers on a banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" displayed across the street from a school; writing for the 5-4 majority, Chief Justice Roberts said the school principal's understanding of the banner as encouraging drug use was "plainly a reasonable one."

The student who created the banner—he was a senior, though the court called the sign "sophomoric"—argued that he wasn't promoting drug use, merely executing an scene-stealing prank during the 2002 Olympic torch run through the streets of Juneau, Alaska. The principal crossed the street to crumple up the 14-foot sign, setting off a test of the First Amendment.