23 December 2006
talk about making a federal case out of something...heres a silly lawsuit that should have never been filed much less made its way all the way to the united states supreme court. it seems that there are busy body school teachers and administrators everywhere. in 2002 the olympic torch was passing through juneau, alaska on its way to the winter games, located that year at salt lake city, utah. apparantly this was big news in juneau it was being televised and everything. so, a juneau douglas high school senior joseph frederick got the bright idea to make a fourteen foot [4.2meters] long banner proclaiming "bong hits 4 jesus" which at the time was a popular catchphrase, in hopes of being seen on television. however, when mr. fredericks principal deborah morse, (whom we must assume is one of those barney fife-esque do-gooder types} instead of letting mr. frederick go ahead and make an ass of himself on local television decided to walk over and crumple his banner and suspended him from school for ten days.
QUESTIONS PRESENTED1. Whether the First Amendment allows public schools to prohibit students from displaying messages promoting the use of illegal substances at school-sponsored, faculty supervised events.
2. Whether the Ninth Circuit departed from established principles of qualified immunity in holding that a public high school principal was liable in a damages lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when, pursuant to the school district’s policy against displaying messages promoting illegal substances, she disciplined a student for displaying a large banner with a slang marijuana reference at a school-sponsored, faculty supervised event.