Morse v. Frederick

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Morse v. Frederick, 127 S. Ct. 2618 (2007) was a case in which the Supreme Court ruled, by a 5-4 margin, that schools have the right to restrict students' speech if it promotes drug use.

In January 2002, Alaska high school student Joseph Frederick was skipping school on the day of a school-sponsored and nationally televised event - an observation of the Olympic torch rally for that year's Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Frederick showed up at the event and unfurled a large banner that read "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS". Principal Deborah Morse confiscated the banner, and suspended Frederick for school for ten days. She later reduced his suspension for eight days.

Frederick later filed a civil rights lawsuit against Morse and the Juneau School Board, which had upheld his suspension, seeking damages for violating his right to free speech and seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The United States District Court for the District of Alaska ruled in favor of Morse and the school board. Frederick appealed, and the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judgment. However, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Morse.