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March 31, 2015

SCOTUS: School Safety More Important Than Free Speech

On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a group of California students who were sent home after they wore American flag-themed shirts on Cinco de Mayo. In 2010, the Morgan Hill Unified School District forbade students from wearing American flag themes because it feared the act would spark racial violence. But the Supreme Court upheld the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling that justified stifling the students’ speech. In an amicus brief, siblings Mary Beth Tinker and John Tinker wrote to the Supreme Court, “If students learn that threatening speakers is an effective way to suppress speech, this will produce more threats, and more suppression of a wide range of other speech. And beyond this, even peaceful students will learn that free speech must yield whenever its opponents are willing to threaten violence – a message antithetical to all things this Court has tried to convey about the First Amendment.” It wasn’t always this way. The Tinkers were the two siblings in a 1976 ruling that students have First Amendment rights just like every other citizen. More…

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