Principals of Censorship: The Game

Last week's Supreme Court decision in Morse v. Frederick, which said the First Amendment does not protect student advocacy of illegal drug use, left students uncertain about how far they can go in criticizing the war on drugs. But what about principals who have to worry about First Amendment lawsuits if they get carried away in applying the Court's new rationale for censorship? Students for Sensible Drug Policy presents a game that puts you in the position of a principal struggling to distinguish between "speech that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use" and "speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Randolph Carter||

    Censorship of children:
    The Least Dangerous Game

  • ||

    I got a 21/23 with 2 unlawful suspensions.

    I was wondering if it penalizes you when you fail to suspend a person you could, so I tried again and didn't suspend at all and only got a 15/23, so I guess it does.

    Another thing I'm wondering is, who determined which statements were suspendable and not? If SSDP's argument is that the distinction is vague, should we trust their judgement of what crosses over the line?

  • ||

    ***GAME SPOILER AHEAD****

    To my last point, the first banner, "Student Stoners Aren't Criminals", could be interpreted as saying "go ahead, get stoned, it's not against the law", but I got tagged with a wrongful suspension.

  • ||

    distinguish between "speech that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use" and "speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue."

    I don't believe SSDP (pssst Jacob, You forgot the D) can distinguish either, since I'm convinced the difference amount to 'Freedom of speech means you can say anything we approve of'.

  • ||

    But what about principals who have to worry about First Amendment lawsuits if they get carried away in applying the Court's new rationale for censorship?

    As Justice Holmes pointed out, if you're worried about where the line is, stay away from the line. (In this case, simply err on the side of not censoring.)

  • Sine_Pfizz||

    If I were in high school, and I decided to, in protest to the Morse v. Frederick ruling, wear a t-shirt that says "Bong Hits 4 Jesus", accompanied by a strip of duct tape over my mouth (a la Martin Sheen), would that not be the same brand of political speech as the court-protected black armbands from the Vietnam era protests? Or is there a legal difference between protesting the Vietnam War nad the War on Drugs?

  • Randolph Carter||

    and you would be punished without option for reprisal, since what you just did was ruled as unprotected speech mere days ago.

    Welcome to the new America! May I see your papers?

  • LarryA||

    Or is there a legal difference between protesting the Vietnam War and the War on Drugs?

    Protesting Vietnam war good. Protesting War on Drugs bad. Mmmmkay?

  • ||

    Why can't the principal just decide not to punish free speech. A ruling that says you CAN suspend students for exercising their free speech does not imply that you MUST suspend them.

    p.s. I wonder how big of a boost this ruling will give to the homeschooling movement?

  • ||

    Friday's ruling on Marineau v. Guiles said a student can not be suspended for political speech. A shirt with Bush, cocaine, and martinis is political.

    Bong hits for Bush!!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement