On January 23, 2001 the Olympic torch relay went through the town of Juneau, Alaska.
The TV cameras were following the torch when Joseph Frederick, an 18 year old senior at the
nearby JuneauÂDouglas Public High School and several of his associates, unraveled a large
banner that read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus". The principal, Deborah Morse of the high school, where
Frederick attended, ran across the street, out of impulse, and tore down the banner. When
Frederick attended school the day after he was suspended for ten days. The suspension of Joseph
Frederick was unconstitutional and violated his first amendment right to Free Speech. Joseph
Frederick, at the time of the incident, was 18 years old, which is the legal adult age, also that day
he did not attend school. The students were released early, but the event was not a school
sanctioned field trip because there was no documentation signed. Also the students were off
campus making it public property. The speech was not obscene nor did Joseph Frederick attend
school that day, which would not make him the responsibility of the school. Frederick was no
more than an adult viewing the running of the torch and exercising his freedom of speech, until
associated with the school by Principal Morse. Joseph Frederick's First Amendment rights were
violated by the suspension because he was a legal adult, acting on public grounds, on a day that
he had not attended school therefore emancipating him from the schools liability.
Joseph Frederick brought the case to court on the terms that his first amendment rights
were violated by the suspension. The District Court ruled in favor of Morse, on the terms that the
banner was promoting the use of illegal drugs. Frederick appealed to...