Student speech at school assemblies
At a voluntary school assembly, a public high school student
delivered a speech nominating a candidate for student government
office. The school-sponsored activity was attended during
the school day by approximately 600 students, many of whom
were 14-year-olds. The student used a graphic, sexual metaphor
throughout the speech. The speech began, “I know a man who is firm — he’s firm in
his pants, he’s firm in his shirt, his character is firm —
but most … of all, his belief in you, the students of Bethel,
to the assembly, two teachers had advised the student, Matthew
Fraser, not to give the speech because it was inappropriate.
The next day the assistant principal notified him that his
speech was in violation of the school’s “disruptive-conduct
rule.” He was given an opportunity to explain his conduct.
After admitting he knew he was using explicit sexual innuendo,
Fraser was suspended and his name was removed from the list
of potential graduation speakers.
- Is this speech protected?
- If not, what harm might occur as a result of the speech?
- What value or right is conflicting with free speech in this