Civics Project

Civics Project

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  • Bethel School District v. Fraser (1986)
  • Matthew Fraser, a senior at Bethel High School, gave a speech to his class in a school assembly that contained many inappropriate phrases and references.
  • He was then suspended from school and taken off the graduation speaking list. His parents appealed the school's disciplinary action.
  • Matthew's father filed a suit at the Federal District Court, claiming this was a violation of the 1st amendment. 
  • The court agreed his free speech rights had been violated, and the school board appealed the case to the US Supreme Court .
  • The Court had previously decided in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School Board that students do not lose their constitutional rights at school.
  • However, in this case, the Court upheld the school district. saying being punished for his inappropriate speech taught fundamental values.
  • The impacts of this case show the issue of student expression and the limits of the !st amendment.
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