I’m teaching Communication Law this semester and am re-visiting Morse v. Frederick, the Supreme Court case that ruled students had no First Amendment right to display a sign reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” Here’s an interesting bit from Wikipedia about the concurring opinion of Justice Thomas:
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurrence that argued that students in public schools do not have a right to free speech and that Tinker should be overturned. Justice Clarence Thomas writes, ‘In my view, the history of public education suggests that the First Amendment, as originally understood, does not protect student speech in public schools.’ He praises Hugo Black’s dissenting opinion on Tinker and called it ‘prophetic’. Thomas cited the doctrine of in loco parentis, meaning in the place of the parent, in his opinion. He traced the history of public education in America back to its colonial roots. According to Thomas, because originally public schools were intended to substitute for private tutors, public schools could discipline students as they liked and had a far stronger hand in what happened in the classroom. “In short,” he continues, “ in the earliest public schools, teachers taught, and students listened. Teachers commanded, and students obeyed.’ He opined that because parents entrusted the care of their children to teachers, teachers have a right to act in the place of parents during school hours. Therefore, teachers should be able to discipline students if necessary. Thomas lambasted Tinker for “usurping [the local school district as a] traditional authority for the judiciary.' Thomas believed that Frederick was neither speaking gibberish nor openly advocating drug use, but granting such an impertinence constitutional protection “would…be to ‘surrender control of the American public school system to public school students.'”
Rather interesting point.
BTW, is it wrong to prepare for class by reading Wikipedia?