Fredrick v. Morse

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Morse v. Fredrick is a legal pursuit the complainant Fredrick, a student raised against Morse the respondent. Morse is a school principal who suspended Fredrick for allegedly proclaiming the use of marijuana on his banner during a school-sanctioned event.


Morse suspended Fredrick from school after he refused to take down his banner that allegedly contained speech spreading information about using marijuana. According to the principal, the message on the banner violated the school rules and regulations regarding illegal drugs. The school board further upheld the suspension however, limiting the suspension days to eight. At the trial, the magistrate contended that the petitioners qualified to immunity in respondent students 42 U.S.C. §1983. The district court held its opinion on that fact that the petition’s right of speech under the first amendment was violated. The Ninth Circuit again found a violation of the First Amendment on appeal of the case. According to the Circuit, the school punished Fredrick without demonstrating that his speech led to a risk of substantive disruption.


Was there a violation of the first amendment rights?

Rule of Law

The Supreme Court cases of the United States explicitly verify that students should not shelter their freedom of speech beyond the school gates. In addition, the court contends that the legal rights of students in civic schools do not mechanically coextend with the rights of normal adult citizens. As such, the student rights must apply to the special characteristics of the school. In respect to this, the Supreme Court holds that the school may thus be responsible to control student’s behavior and guard them from speech deemed advocacy of drug abuse.


The respondent violated the first amendment

The respondent did not demonstrate speech was disruptive


The court reversed the Ninth Circuit judgment and remanded the action for further proceedings. It also contended that the school did not violate the first amendment. Moreover, the court found that the schools have the mandate to safeguard students from drug abused as based on their policies.

December 12, 2023


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