Chandler v. McMinnville Schl. Dist.,
978 F.2d 524;
1992 U.S. App. LEXIS 27834 (9th Cir.,1992)
by:Gabrielle Slay
This article is about two boys who wore buttons that their vice principal thought was disruptive. There was a teachers strike going on at the school and other workers were hired to replace them. The buttons were worn by two students whose fathers were teachers and also participating in the strike. The buttons bore slogans such as “do scabs bleed” and “I’m not listening scab”. These students wore the buttons and were trying to get other students to wear them also. The boys tried to take a temporary administrators photograph and the administrator took them to the vice principal. The vice principal ordered them to take off the buttons and they refused. The students stated that the buttons were a part of their first Amendment right to free speech.

Decision/ Rationale
The court dismissed the student’s complaint of their First Amendment right of freedom of speech being denied. Although the right of freedom of speech does apply to school grounds there are certain limitations. The school administration can decided at any time that something is disruptive and inappropriate. It is not up to the government to decide but it is the school’s choice. Therefore the reasoning of the vice principal to ask the students to remove the buttons because they were offensive and disruptive was within his legal right.

Impact on Teaching:
Students are going to have opinions about any and everything it is up to teachers to make sure they express these feelings the right manner. A student may be well within his or her right to have a say I a situation, but it is not their right to disturb, offend or accuse anyone. This is something that teachers can help students with that will be very beneficial as they become adults. We as teachers also must watch the way we express our opinions to our students. We have to know the difference between opinion and fact and show how each is beneficial and should be expressed.

Quiz Question:
What was the offensive name that the students called the replacement teachers?

Chandler v McMinnville School District

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth District

Argued May 7, 1992, Decided October 28, 1992

By: Stacy Lynch

Sons of teachers, Chandler and Depweg, wore buttons and stickers in protest of the school hiring temporary teachers during a strike. The boys were taken to the office where the vice principal ordered them to take off the buttons that said “scab” because they were disruptive. When the boys said the they had not caused a disruption and refused to remove them, they were sent home for the remainder of the day. The next day they wore them again, but removed them when ordered fearing further punishment. When the boys filed suit for violations of their First Amendment the court threw out the case stating the buttons and stickers were “inherently disruptive.” The boys then filed suit for violations of their Due Process rights in addition to the First Amendment violations.

The court of Appeals decided that the previous court had applied the wrong case when deciding the Chandler case. The court had applied Bethel School District v Fraser which decided that the school could suppress the use of vulgar language at school and school functions. However, Tinker v Des Moines, students silently protesting the war with colored armbands, should have been applied because it was more fitting to the case. When the court of appeals applied precedents set by Tinker, the case was decided in Chandler's favor. The school could not legally make the boys remove the buttons and stickers from their clothing nor could they forbid them to wear them at school.

Impact on Education:
The impact on education is much the same as it was in Tinker v Des Moines, the school cannot regulate the acts of silent protest if there is no clear disruption to the educational system. Simply being offended by or disagreeing with a student's opinion or medium of expression is not a reasonable justification for violating a student's First Amendment Rights. It is the job of the school to prepare students to become active citizens, sometimes that involves allowing them to express their opinions. However, it is also the job of the school to ensure that during the expression they are not infringing on the rights of others and are not disrupting the functions of the school. Students, like adults, will test the limits of the Freedom of Speech, so it is important that they are kept within the limits. The best way to ensure this happens is with school policy and rules that do not infringe on anyone's rights.

Quiz Question:

What case set the precedent for which Chandler v McMinnville School District was decided?
a. Bethel School District v Fraser
b. Davis v Monroe County Board of Education
c. Tinker v Des Moines
d. Veronia School District v Acton