Court curbs speech in ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ case

WWJD? He would have inhaled. Definitely.

June 25, 2007
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court tightened limits on student speech today, ruling against a high school student and his 14-foot-long “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner.

Schools may prohibit student expression that can be interpreted as advocating drug use, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court.

Joseph Frederick unfurled his homemade sign on a winter morning in 2002, as the Olympic torch made its way through Juneau, Alaska, en route to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Frederick said the banner was a nonsensical message that he first saw on a snowboard. He intended the banner to proclaim his right to say anything at all.

His principal, Deborah Morse, said the phrase was a pro-drug message that had no place at a school-sanctioned event. Frederick denied that he was advocating drug use.

“The message on Frederick’s banner is cryptic,” Roberts said.

“But Principal Morse thought the banner would be interpreted by those viewing it as promoting illegal drug use, and that interpretation is plainly a reasonable one.”

3 thoughts on “Court curbs speech in ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ case”

  1. I read on CNN that the kid had not even come to class that day. That he had come to ceremony on his own and the principal walked over to him.

    So technically it could be argued that the principal didn’t have the authority to punish him.

  2. Well, we now know something of the hierarchy of what you can and can bring up at school:

    possible some stuff
    more stuff
    still more stuff
    Bong Hits
    possibly some more stuff
    possibly yet more stuff

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