2 Terminal ObjectiveUpon completion of this module, the participant will be able to identify and understand the landmark United States Supreme Court cases involving schools and students.
3 Enabling ObjectivesIdentify and understand the following United States Supreme Court Cases:Engel v. Vitale (1962)Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969)Goss v. Lopez (1975)Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1983)New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)Bethel School District # 43 v. Fraser (1987)Santa Fe Ind. Sch. Dist. v. Doe (2000)Board of Education v. Earls (2002)Zelma v. Simmons-Harris (2002)
4 In CLEB (Basic), you received a comprehensive review of the most common legal issues that school based law enforcement encounter. Today we’ll review some landmark Supreme Court cases involving schools and students that you may or may not have heard of before.
5 Engel v. Vitale (1962)In the New York system, each day began with a nondenominational prayer:Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen.From what you remember from Campus Law Enforcement (Basic), why might someone bring suit over this action?
6 Establishment ClauseA group of several families brought suit, saying that the prayer violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court agreed and ruled that government-written prayers are not to be recited in public schools and were an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause.Question for the class: What is the establishment clause?Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.
7 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) In December 1965, John Tinker (15), Mary Beth Tinker (13) and their friend Christopher Eckhardt (16) decided to wear black armbands to school in protest of the Vietnam War.MORE BACKGROUND: The school’s policy banned armbands, and violating students were suspended but allowed to return the next day if in compliance. The students chose to violate the policy and were suspended until after January 1.Mary and John Tinker
8 Tinker v. Des MoinesFollowing the students’ suspension, the parents filed suit. The Supreme Court held that the First Amendment applied to public schools, and that administrators would have to demonstrate constitutionally valid reasons for any specific regulation of speech in the classroom.
9 Famous Quote from Tinker "It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."Question for the class: What does the First Amendment say?Freedom of Speech!The court further held that in order for school officials to justify censoring speech, they must be able to show that their action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint, allowing schools to forbid conduct that would materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.
10 Goss v. Lopez (1975)Nine students were suspended for 10 days for destroying school property and disrupting the learning environment. Ohio law allowed the principal to suspend a student for 10 days, but required that the student and parents be notified of the action 24 hours before and be given a reason.
11 Goss v. LopezIf the student was expelled, he could appeal to the Board of Education – but there was no such mechanism for suspended students. The Supreme Court held that the state violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of due process by removing the hearing process for suspensions.Question for the class: What does DUE PROCESS mean?No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. At a basic level, procedural due process is essentially based on the concept of “fundamental fairness.” It includes a person’s right to be adequately notified of charges or proceedings, the opportunity to be heard at these proceedings, and that the person or panel making the final decision be impartial to the matter before them.
12 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1983) A high school paper was published as part of a journalism class, and the cost was paid for by the district. The principal reviewed the paper prior to publishing. The paper in question contained articles about teenage pregnancy and divorce, and he was concerned that all identities were not completely protected. He eliminated those stories from the paper.
13 Hazelwood v. KuhlmeierSeveral students brought their school to court, arguing that the school went against their First Amendment freedom of speech and press by censoring the article. What do you think the Supreme Court decided in this case?
14 Hazelwood v. KuhlmeierThe Supreme Court said no – a public school need not affirmatively sponsor speech that conflicts with its legitimate pedagogical goals. The school-financed paper was not considered a public forum and so its editors were entitled to a lower level of First Amendment protection than is applicable to independent student newspapers.
15 New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)Two freshmen girls are caught smoking cigarettes in a bathroom. Smoking wasn’t prohibited at school, but it was designated to specific smoking areas. When called to the principal, one girl admitted smoking. The other (T.L.O.) said she had never smoked in her life. What do you think the principal did then…?
16 New Jersey v. T.L.O.The principal took her to his office and demanded her purse. When he opened it, he found a pack of cigarettes, rolling papers, a small amount of marijuana, a pipe, empty plastic bags, a large quantity of money in $1 bills, an index card with a list of people who appeared to owe her money, and two letters that implicated her in dealing marijuana.
17 New Jersey v. T.L.O.T.L.O. argued that the search violated her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. The Supreme Court disagreed, and said that this search was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The principal had reasonable suspicion to believe he would find cigarettes in her purse. WHY?She had been caught in the bathroom smoking and was taken directly to the office, so it was reasonable to assume she had cigarettes in her purse. When the principal began searching her purse, the drug-related items were in plain view – which is an exception to the warrant requirement of the 4th amendment. Thus, the reasonable search for cigarettes led to drug related material being discovered, which justified further search (including zippered compartments of the bag).
18 Bethel School Dist. #43 v. Fraser (1987) A high school senior gave a speech nominating a classmate for student body president. His speech was filled with sexual innuendos, prompting disciplinary action. After appealing through the grievance procedures at his school, he was still found in violation of school policy and was suspended for three days. He sued, claiming a violation of free speech.
19 Bethel School Dist. #43 v. Fraser The Supreme Court upheld the suspension. While standing by its ruling in Tinker that students have a right to express themselves in nondisruptive ways, the Court limited that expression when it is found to be sexually vulgar.
20 Santa Fe Ind. Sch. Dist. v. Doe (2000) The district allowed students to offer Christian prayers over the public address system at home football games. Two students objected to this practice, saying it violated the Establishment Clause. What do you think the Court said in this case?
21 Santa Fe Ind. Sch. Dist. v. Doe The Court held that the policy allowing the prayers was unconstitutional. These pre-game prayers were delivered on school property, at school-sponsored events, over the school’s public address system, by a speaker representing the student body, under supervision of faculty, and pursuant to a policy that encourages prayer. This was public – not private – prayer in school.
22 Board of Education v. Earls (2002) Two students brought suit against the school board of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, alleging that the school policy requiring students participating in extracurricular activities to submit to random urinalysis testing for drug use violated the Fourth Amendment.
23 Board of Education v. Earls The Court held that students in extracurricular activities have a diminished expectation of privacy, and that the policy furthered an important interest of the school in preventing drug use among students.
24 Zelma v. Simmons-Harris (2002) An Ohio scholarship/voucher program allowed certain families to receive tuition aid from the state, helping to offset the cost of tuition at private schools (including religious schools). The Supreme Court rejected First Amendment challenges to this program and held that such aid does not violate the Establishment Clause.
25 Random Thought of the Day: Strip Searches Don’t do them, unless you want to end up like this SRO: Video:
26 Resources“Landmark Supreme Court Cases About Students,”Supreme Court of the United States website: