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On March 22, 2012, in Cuff ex rel. B.C. v. Valley Central School District, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that suspending a student for writing a wish to blow up the school did not violate the student’s First Amendment right of expression. The court concluded that the suspension satisfied the substantial disruption test outlined by the Supreme Court in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. The Second Circuit, however, could have reached the same result without undermining student speech protections by applying the Supreme Court’s narrower standard presented in Bethel School District Number 403 v. Fraser, which allows restrictions on certain types of speech based on the school’s role in teaching students societal values. Applying the Fraser standard in this case would have given school officials the tools necessary to protect students from violence, while preserving the students’ free speech rights.
Cuff ex rel. B.C. v. Valley Central School District: The Battle Between Safety and Liberty in an Era of Student Violence,
B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just.
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