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First Amendment Library:
Douglas K. Mertz


Student Joseph Frederick held up a sign that read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" at a school-sponsored event. Deborah Morse, the school's principal, took Frederick's sign and suspended him for 10 days. The Ninth Circuit held that Frederick's speech was protected under the First Amendment because it did not cause a disturbance. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that public school officials can prohibit students from promoting illegal drug use and can punish those who do.