wasting bandwidth since 1999

Supreme Stupidity

One more reason why we need a new Supreme Court.

A majority of the current one believes that schools have the right to control the speech of their students outside of the school setting.

In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said, “This case began with a silly nonsensical banner, (and) ends with the court inventing out of whole cloth a special First Amendment rule permitting the censorship of any student speech that mentions drugs, so long as someone could perceive that speech to contain a latent pro-drug message.”

So, does this mean that schools can penalize students for materials posted on MySpace? Or for an opinion entered on a discussion board at RateMyTeacher? Or if they sign an online petition to support the legalization of marijuana?

Since the National School Boards Association applauds this ruling, you can bet that a school district somewhere in the country is going to try.

And once again administrators will be attempting to use threats and penalties to change student behavior when their stated mission is educating them to be responsible adults.

What’s the saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

supreme court, student behavior


  1. Chris Craft

    Please consider allowing full posts to go through to the feed. You’ve been posting good stuff, but you’re forcing me to come to the blog to read it. Consider full posts in the feed?


    Chris Craft

  2. Lee Dixon

    Dude, I love your blog, but are you sure this was such a bad decision? The 14 foot banner was displayed on the sidewalk facing the school.

    If it’s OK to ban yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre, isn’t it OK to keep a student from telling their peers… at school… that it is OK to use drugs?

    The decision wouldn’t in any way impact a students ability to say the same thing on a MySpace page. It was the location of the banner that was key here.

    There is a somewhat general legal principle here that is very important to the running of schools… you can’t avoid sanctions by stepping off of school grounds and violating school rules. This varies with “distance”, so that something in view of the school is much more likely to be considered within the school’s purview than around the corner and out of view of the school. Among other things, this allows bullies to be controlled by the school when kids are walking home whereas otherwise the cops have to handle the situation.

    And what’s wrong about demanding some simple respect for the adults in the school, who are trying to save lives by consistently conveying anti-drug messages.

    I can’t believe this case was allowed to be heard by the federal district court, but at least the Supreme’s got it right!

    Yep, I’m a former school administrator. But I’m not generally all that conservative. Actually more libertarian. Being a libertarian doesn’t mean that anything goes… for kids.

    It was a stupid prank and the kid should have just paid the price.

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