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Free Speech Fashion in High Schools - Essay Example

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Free Speech Fashion in High Schools

This paper illustrates a typical example of what is happening in the larger world— the conflict between legality/constitutionality and morality, secularity and religiosity, conservatives or right wing and liberals or left wing, etc. In this case, however, the subjects may be considered minors and as such require school authority’s censorship or parental control. Harper’s action was therefore seen as a violation of dress code of the school and was also inflammatory. This was the school authority’s stance, which was later affirmed by a court of law. What are the implications of the court verdict? Free speech is embodied in the Bill of Right contained in the First Amendment to United States Constitution. Every citizen is covered by this constitutional proclamation. The same proclamation is interpreted by courts, the Supreme Court as in the case of Joseph Fredrick’s banner carrying the words “Bongs Hits for Jesus” and a District Court in Harper’s case, to pass controversial judgments. In Harper’s case, the question is whether the inscription on the T-shirt really ‘injurious’ and ‘derogatory’ to homosexuals or not. Harper’s way of expressing his belief was provoked by school authority’s action. Thus he intently wanted to pass the message to the school authority while condemning the action of others, whose actions do not necessarily directly affect the essence of his being in school. As such it can be interpreted to be an affront to the minority status of homosexuals in the school. By stopping him from wearing the T-shirt, actually an infringement of his freedom, the court is protecting the rights of other students, who are more vulnerable in the school community and the society at large. Thus, the court's judgment is not an arbitrary infringement of rights but defensive infringement.  ...Show more
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Summary

This paper illustrates free speech fashion in high schools discussing the case of a T-shirt with the inscription “Homosexuality is Shameful” worn by a high school student to express opposition to his school’s accommodation of gays and lesbians…
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