BETHEL SCHOOL DIST. NO. 403 v. FRASER, 478 U.S. 675 (1986)
478 U.S. 675
BETHEL SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 403 ET AL. v. FRASER, A MINOR, ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
No. 84-1667.
Argued March 3, 1986
Decided July 7, 1986
Summary:
The respondent delivered a speech in front of 600 high school students consisting mostly of 14 year-olds in which he "referred to his candidate in terms of an elaborate, graphic, and explicit sexual metaphor." The students attending the assembly encouraged the respondent by hooting, yelling, and mimicking the sexual activities mentioned. The respondent was discouraged to include this in his speech by teachers before he gave the speech. He was notified the next morning that his speech was a violation of the school's code to which he admitted that he purposely included the content in his speech. He was suspended for three days and was removed from the list of speakers at graduation. His father filed suit against the school claiming that it was a violation of his First Amendment right.
Decision:
The court held that the school did violate the respondent's First Amendment stating that the disruptive-conduct rule was too broad. The court also found that removing the respondent from the graduation speaker's list violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The respondent was awarded monetary relief and was allowed back on the speaker list of commencement ceremonies.
Impact on Teaching:
The biggest impact cases like this have on the education system is that it sends mixed messages to the students. These types of cases also undermine the authority of the school administration, teachers, and staff. It is true that students should have the right to Freedom of Speech, but not when it interferes with the well being and best interest of the rest of the student body. It was shocking that the court decided against the school, because in my opinion this case is a clear depiction of taking advantage of the student’s rights.
Quiz Question:
In the BETHEL SCHOOL DIST. NO. 403 v. FRASER, 478 U.S. 675 (1986) case the court decided that the school violated which two amendment?

Reviewed by: Rebekah Watson & Kandace Campbell