Should Courts Ban Demeaning Speech in Schools? The Ninth Circuit’s Controversial Anti-Gay T-Shirt Case
by Richard Fossey & Todd A. DeMitchell - December 18, 2006
Free speech in the schools can have a bruising quality. The Ninth Circuit was correct when it said that in some instances student speech can be psychologically painful to others—especially vulnerable students like the gay and lesbian students that Tye Harper’s T-shirt criticized. But it is a very dangerous thing for a court to allow schools to propound the officially approved viewpoint on a particular controversial topic and then censor the views of those who disagree. We believe that the Supreme Court should accept Tye Harper’s appeal and restore the proper balance that Tinker established over 35 years ago between the student’s right to speak on unpopular topics and the school’s legitimate interest to maintain a proper educational environment for those same students.
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