Saving Free Speech and Jesus

Religious and conservative groups support the 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' banner under fire at the Supreme Court

Responding to the argument that a school can cut off student speech that is inconsistent with its "basic educational mission," Alito said: "I find that a very, very disturbing argument because schools . . . can [thereby] define their educational mission so broadly that they can suppress all sorts of political speech expressing fundamental values of the students [that the principals judge to be] inconsistent with their educational missions." Raise a glass to Sam Alito!

In circulating his opinion among his fellow justices, I hope Alito will remind them that Joe Frederick was intentionally across the street from his high school, and that even in the otherwise restrictive Kuhlmeier decision, that court recognized that "the government could not censor [student speech] outside the school"—including "streets, parks, and other traditional public forums that time out of mind, have been used for . . . communicating thought between citizens discussing public questions."

Joe Frederick and his banner were on a public street across from the school. If this court fails the First Amendment on other counts in this case, at least students won't be entirely gagged when they're away from school. But inside schools, maybe Sam Alito can save free speech—including about Jesus, pro or con.

Joe is now a high school English teacher in China. He sure is needed there.

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