Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier
The principle of Hazelwood East High School deleted two pages of
the student newspaper "Spectrum". The articles deleted were on pregnancy
and divorce. The reasons for the deletions were that he felt it was
unsuitable for younger students at the school and he thought that the girls
in the article on pregnancy could be easily identified. He
felt that the article on divorce was inappropriate because it names a student's
father in the school.
paper was part of school curriculum, and the principle believed that primarily
it had violated the decency aspects of journalism taught in class.
Three student editors filed a suit against the principle and school district
on the basis that the action had violated their first amendment right of
court rule 5 to 3 in favor of Hazelwood School District. Justice
Byron White wrote the court's opinion.
The court concluded that The
Spectrum wasn't "a forum for public expression" therefore it was
not required that the student's rights were not required to be respected.
The newspaper was a tool which the school used to teach the curriculum,
not a forum of self expression, therefore opinions and ideas could be edited
out in order to teach the lesson. "Educators are entitled to exercise
greater control over this form of student expression to assure that participants
learn whatever lessons the activity is designed to teach."
However, Justices Brennan,
Thrugood, and Blackmun wrote opposing opinions, "Tinker teaches us that
the state educator's undeniable mandate to inculcate moral and political
values is not a general warrant to act as 'thought police' stifling discussion
of all but state-approved topics and advocacy of all but the official position".