Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier

Case Name: Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier

Year: 1988

Result: 5-3, favor Hazelwood

Related Constitutional Issue/Amendment: Amendment I, Freedom of the Press

Civil Rights or Civil Liberties: Civil Liberties

Significance/Precedent: The school could regulate the student-run school newspaper and eliminate articles they did not like. The students did not have the absolute freedom of the press in the school. This case is similar to and consistent with Bethel v. Fraser. The school won out over the First Amendment rights of the students.

Quote from Majority Opinion: "Finally, we conclude that the principal's decision to delete two pages of Spectrum, rather than to delete only the offending articles or to require that they be modified, was reasonable under the circumstances as he understood them. Accordingly, no violation of First Amendment rights occurred."

Summary of the Dissent: The dissent argued that the principal's deletion of the pages in the school newspaper violated the students' First Amendment rights. If the principal could control the school newspaper, s/he could trample upon the right of the students to express themselves and spread information. This authority could potentially be harmful to the students.
Quote: "The mere fact of school sponsorship does not, as the Court suggests, license such thought control in the high school, whether through school suppression of disfavored viewpoints or through official assessment of topic sensitivity. The former would constitute unabashed and unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination..."

Six-word Summary: Schools can sensor the school newspaper

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