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Running head: Artifact #4 Students’ Rights and Responsibilities

Artifact #4

Students’ Rights and Responsibilities

Wyatt A. Reid

College of Southern Nevada


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Bill Foster a student at a high school in the North Eastern United States wore an earring

to school and was suspended. The school had a policy prohibiting the wearing of gang symbols,

things such as jewelry, emblems, earrings, and athletic caps. He had no gang affiliation and wore

the earring because he thought that it would attract the young women at the school. He filed suit

against the school. The question at hand is whether Bill’s freedoms of expression were violated

or not.

The first case that supports Bill Foster is Tinker v. Des Moines (1969). In this case a

young girl wore a black arm band to school in protest of the Vietnam war. The school said that

she could not wear it. The court said that if the speech is not disruptive then it is permitted in the

school. Tinker won her case against the school. Bill Foster living in the North Eastern United

States falls under a circuit court that sees dress as a form of protected speech (Underwood &

Webb, 2006). Because of Tinker v. Des Moines and where Bill lives, his rights were violated by

the school.

The second case in support of Bill Foster is Stephenson v. Davenport Community School

District (1997). In this case a young lady, Brianna Stephenson, has a tattoo of a cross on her

hand. Due to gang activity the school had a policy against tattoos. She was suspended and was

not allowed back to school until she got the tattoo removed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the

Eighth Circuit said that school violated Brianna’s because the policy was too vague. Just like

Brianna Stephenson, Bill Foster’s school has a problem with gangs and the school has put a

policy in place for dress. Because of the Stephenson case, Bill has a good argument that his

rights were violated.

Morse v. Fredrick (2007) is the first case in support of the school’s decision to suspend Bill

Foster. In this case Joseph Fredrick held up a sign in front of a school that said, “Bong Hits 4
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Jesus.” He was suspended. The school had policies against drug use and displays of material that

promoted drug use. Suit was filed. The courts held that this kind of speech was not protected.

Like Bill Foster’s school, this school had policies in place. When the policy is constitutional then

it will be upheld.

The last case in support of the school is Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist.

(2014). This case is a situation where the school banned wearing clothes that displayed the

American flag on the day Cinco de Mayo. They thought, because of the demographics of the

school and the recent violence between races in the school that this dress would lead to

dangerous situations. Unavoidably, three students wore clothes with American flags and were

disciplined and filed suit. The courts found that the school had the right to make this policy for

the safety of the students. Just life this case, Bill Foster’s school had but this policy in place to

protect the students.

In the end Bill Foster’s right expression was infringed upon, in my opinion. The case

Stephenson v. Davenport Community School District (1997) most closely represents the situation

that Bill faces. And like Miss Stephenson, Bill did not deserve to be disciplined for his earring.

Tinker v. Des Moines also backs Bill Foster side.


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References

DARIANO v. MORGAN HILL UNIFIED SCHOOL DIST. No. 11-17858 (2014). September

17, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2017.

https://www.leagle.com/decision/infco20140801127

MORSE v. FREDERICK 551 U.S. 393 (2007). June 25, 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2017.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2006/06-278

STEPHENSON v. DAVENPORT COMMUNITY SCHOOL DIST. No. 96-1770 (1997). May

30, 1997. Retrieved October 7, 2017.

https://www.leagle.com/decision/19971413110f3d130311247

TINKER v. DES MOINES SCHOOL DIST. No. 21. 393 U.S. 503 (1969). February 24, 1969.

Retrieved October 7, 2017. https://www.leagle.com/decision/1969896393us5031765

Underwood, J., & Webb, L. (2006). Teachers' Rights. In School Law for Teachers. Upper Saddle

River: Pearson Education.