Scoville v. Board of Education of Joliet Township High School District 204, 425 F.2d 10 (7th Cir. 1970)
Two public high school students published an underground paper called "Grass High" and distributed it on campus. School officials suspended the students because they believed the content in the paper was "inappropriate and indecent." The newspapers criticized certain school policies. The students sued, claiming a violation of their First Amendment rights.
Whether school officials could suspend students without a reasonable forecast of substantial disruption.
By a 5-1 vote, the Seventh Circuit held that school officials could not punish the students for their underground newspaper unless they could reasonably forecast that it would cause a substantial disruption at school.
The student underground newspaper contained language that was offensive to school officials. But school officials cannot punish students for their expression unless they can show a reasonable forecast of substantial disruption. School officials failed to present any evidence of disruption.
"While recognizing the need of effective discipline in operating schools, the law requires that the school rules be related to the state interest in the production of well-trained intellects with constructive critical stances, lest students' imaginations, intellects, and wills be unduly stifled or chilled." (Judge Roger J. Kiley)
"In my view, plaintiffs' advocacy of disregard of the school's procedure carried with it an inherent threat to the effective operation of a method the school authorities had a right to utilize for the purpose of communicating with the parents of students." (Judge Latham Castle)
Monday, May 20, 2013 | 10:45:29