Advocacy of Illegal Drug Use

Advocacy of Illegal Drug Use

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9519-1.ch010


This chapter examines the Morse v. Frederick (2007) case – the most recent United States Supreme Court decision about students' right to free speech under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. It discusses the test created in the case for determining the extent of school-censorship authority over student speech. This test, known as the Morse test, allows schools to censor student speech if the speech advocates illegal drug use. The ultimate goal of the chapter is to analyze the Morse v. Frederick case in order to determine if it gives schools any authority to censor students' off-campus speech.
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In Morse v. Frederick (2007), the United States Supreme Court expanded the authority of schools to censor student speech while coterminously restricting students’ speech rights under the Free Speech Clause. This was done through the creation of a new category of unprotected speech for students. The Court’s decision to withdraw another category of student speech from First Amendment protection continued the trend toward lesser student-speech protection that began in Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser (1986) and Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988). Under the test created in the case, school officials can censor student speech that advocates illegal drug use. This is known as the Morse test. The Morse v. Frederick case is the closest the Supreme Court has come to examining any student-speech facts remotely similar to off-campus student speech. The case and the test are examined next.

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