Banner Suit Filed in Court 

Banner Suit Filed in Court 
Posted by FoM on April 27, 2002 at 08:12:03 PT
By Andrew Krueger, The Juneau Empire 
Source: Juneau Empire 
A lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday claims the state and federal constitutional rights of Juneau-Douglas High School senior Joseph Frederick were violated when he was suspended for carrying a banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" in January.Frederick, with the support of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union, filed the suit roughly three weeks after announcing his intent to pursue legal action. The suit names JDHS Principal Deb Morse and the Juneau School Board as defendants.
"We really hoped that it wouldn't come to this," AkCLU Executive Director Jennifer Rudinger said this morning. "We kept hoping that somewhere common sense would prevail. ... We're a little bit surprised we have to go to court but there's nowhere else left to appeal."Frederick was suspended by Morse for 10 days after displaying the banner during the Olympic Torch Relay on Jan. 24. He appealed, and Superintendent Gary Bader upheld the suspension - but reduced it to the eight days served - in February.Frederick appealed to the school board in March, which voted to uphold the suspension on the grounds cited by Bader, including that watching the torch run was a school-sanctioned activity; that the term "bong hits" went against the district's anti-drug policy; and that Frederick defied the directives of school officials after being told to take the banner down.The complaint filed Thursday asks for a declaration that Frederick's state and federal constitutional rights were violated; injunctions expunging the suspension from Frederick's record and banning any future similar suspensions; awarding of attorney fees; and compensatory and punitive damages.Frederick's attorney, Doug Mertz, did not elaborate on the amounts, but said "the main point of the lawsuit is the principle, the policy."The AkCLU is paying Frederick's legal fees.Mertz said they chose to name Morse and the school board as defendants because "Deb Morse made the decision to punish Frederick and the school board set the policy" under which he was punished.School Board President Mary Becker said this morning the panel unanimously stood by Bader's findings in March, and that it would have been "dangerous" for the district to not support the jurisdiction of school officials over school-sanctioned events.Note: Student presses free-speech lawsuit with help of AkCLU. Source: Juneau Empire (AK)Author: Andrew Krueger, The Juneau Empire Published: Friday, April 26, 2002Copyright: 2002 Southeastern Newspaper CorpContact: editor1 alaska.netWebsite: Article & Web Site:ACLU akclu Banner Canned: Free Speech Rights at Issue
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Comment #3 posted by Dan B on April 27, 2002 at 21:03:14 PT:
The REAL Reason . . .
The real reason why these tightass school officals are angry isn't the words "Bong Hits." If "Bong Hits" were the problem, this matter would have been over long ago. No, the real reason they are upset is the linking of "Bong Hits" with "4 Jesus"--which stuns their religious "sensibilities." If the sign read, "Bong Hits 4 Snowboarders!" or "Bong Hits 4 Ringo!" the issue would be moot. But Heaven forbid that we link Jesus Christ with the consumption of intoxicants (never mind that his first miracle was to change water into the best wine the folks at that wedding had ever tasted--wine which, according to the gospels, would get you drunk enough to not realize when they were bringing out the crappy stuff). Of course, the sign did not say "Bong Hits 4 Jesus Christ." Who knows? They may have been stumping for some guy named Jesus Venezuela who needs medical marijuana. Did they ask the kids which Jesus they were referring to? And, of course, there's that pesky First Amendment issue. Even if these kids held up a banner that said, "Heroin and Sexy Ladies 4 Jesus!" their speech would be protected under the First Amendment. So, the school really has no leg to stand on. Except this: Antonin Scalia and his "Funky Bunch" are salivating at the possibility that they might get to slap down the first amendment for all high school students. It will be the foot-in-the-door they need to permanently dismantle the first amendment for all of us.Dan B
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 27, 2002 at 08:24:13 PT
More Information!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 27, 2002 at 08:16:33 PT
Heads Up- Washington Journal
They are talking about HEMP! Right Now!
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