An analysis of the hazelwood ruling and its effects on student journalists

One was about teen pregnancycontaining interviews with three students who had been pregnant.

An analysis of the hazelwood ruling and its effects on student journalists

Bethel School District v. Fraser Bethel School District v. Fraser,was a United States Supreme Court decision involving free speech in public schools.

Matthew Fraser was suspended from school in the Bethel School District for making a speech including double entendres at a school assembly. The Supreme Court held that his suspension did not violate the First Amendment.

The speech was filled with sexual innuendos, but not obscenity, prompting disciplinary action from the administration. Fraser's speech was as follows: Jeff Kuhlman is a man who takes his point and pounds it in.

If necessary, he'll take an issue and nail it to the wall.

Annotated Bibliography on Freedom of Expression

He doesn't attack things in spurts — he drives hard, pushing and pushing until finally — he succeeds. Jeff is a man who will go to the very end — even the climax, for each and every one of you.

So please vote for Jeff Kuhlman, as he'll never come [long pause] between us and the best our school can be. He is firm enough to give it everything.

These grounds later evolved to include obscenity at trial, but obscenity, according to Fraser, was not listed as grounds for his punishment in his initial hearing with school vice-principal Christy Blair. Fraser was suspended from school for three days as a result, was prohibited from speaking at his graduation ceremony, and his name was stricken from the ballot used to elect three graduation speakers.

Fraser nonetheless was selected by a write-in vote which placed him second overall among the top three finishers, although Bethel High School administrators refused to accept the write-in vote as a valid result, and continued to deny Fraser the opportunity to speak at graduation.

With approval from his parents and help from American Civil Liberties Union cooperating attorney Jeff Haley, Matt Fraser filed a lawsuit against the school authorities claiming a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech, and United States District Court judge Jack Tanner ruled in his favor.

The school district then appealed to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in Fraser's favor with a broadly worded opinion.

An analysis of the hazelwood ruling and its effects on student journalists

The school district asked the United States Supreme Court to consider the case and it agreed to do so. Opinion of the Court The US Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals in a 7—2 vote to reinstate the suspension, saying that the school district's policy did not violate the First Amendment.

Hazelwood and the lasting effect on Student Journalism — Voices of Youth

Chief Justice Warren Burger delivered the Court's opinion, in what ended up along with the Gramm-Rudman decision to be the final case of the Burger Court era.

Fraser referred to this as "the silver lining in the grim cloud of my defeat. Though the Court distinguished its decision Tinker v.

Des Moines, which upheld the right of students to express themselves where their words or in that case, the wearing of a protest armband are nondisruptive and could not be seen as connected with the school, Fraser limits the scope of that ruling, by prohibiting certain styles of expression that are sexually vulgar.

Does the First Amendment prevent a school district from disciplining a high school student for giving a lewd speech at a high school assembly? The Court had earlier held, in Tinker v.


Des Moines Independent School Board, that students do not shed their constitutional rights at the school gate. In that case, the Court said that the First Amendment gave students the right to wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. In the Bethel case, however, the Court upheld the school district.

The Court held, by a margin, that school officials acted within the Constitution by disciplining Fraser. Chief Justice Burger wrote for the majority. He pointed out that there was a huge difference between the protest in Tinker, which dealt with a major issue of public policy, and the lewdness of Fraser's speech.

An analysis of the hazelwood ruling and its effects on student journalists

Stevens wrote, "I believe a strong presumption in favor of free expression should apply whenever an issue of this kind is arguable. Two of the articles submitted for publication in the final edition of the paper contained stories on divorce and teenage pregnancy.

The divorce article featured a story about a girl who blamed her father's actions for her parents' divorce. The teenage pregnancy article featured stories in which pregnant students at Hazelwood East shared their experiences.

To ensure their privacy, the girls' names were changed in the article. The school principal felt that the subjects of these two articles were inappropriate.

He concluded that journalistic fairness required that the father in the divorce article be informed of the story and be given an opportunity to comment. He also stated his concerns that simply changing the names of the girls in the teenage pregnancy article may not be sufficient to protect their anonymity and that this topic may not be suitable for the younger students.

As a result, he prohibited these articles from being published in the paper.The Student Press Law Center reports that the Allamakee (Iowa) Community School District on Monday filed a "petition for further review" to the Iowa Supreme Court, asking the state’s highest court to weigh in on the Iowa Student Free Expression Law (ISFEL).

This petition follows a November. In Hazelwood, the Court began its analysis by examining whether the student newspaper at issue was a limited public forum. Hazelwood, U.S.

at , This is the proper threshold question because speech in a limited public forum is less susceptible to regulation by the state.

3 As the Court concluded in Hazelwood. The Hazelwood decision had an effect on high schools across the nation and the examples of how school administrators have applied the ruling are chilling.

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In Manchester, New Hampshire, a principal shut down the student newspaper after an editorial criticized a teacher for withholding the vote totals in . THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Society of Professional Journalists, meeting in convention in Anaheim, California on September 9, , commends the work of the SPLC and its former executive director Frank LoMonte for their untiring efforts to undo the ill effects of the Hazelwood decision of the U.S.

Supreme Court. There can be no doubt, in light of the Teamsters case, that the District Court's comparison of Hazelwood's teacher work force to its student population fundamentally misconceived the role of statistics in employment discrimination cases. In January , the United States Supreme Court handed down its opinion in the case Hazelwood School District Court upheld the decision of public high school administrators at Hazelwood East High School in suburban St.

Louis, Mo., to censor stories concerning teen pregnancy and the effects of divorce on children from a school-sponsored student newspaper.

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