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Abe Fortas
The wrong lesson

ON THE SAME DAY it expanded free speech in the political process, the Supreme Court needlessly narrowed it in the nation's public schools. In upholding the suspension of an Alaska high school student for unfurling a banner declaring "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" during a field trip, a 5-4 majority drained the life out of one of the court's landmark pronouncements: that children do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." The quotation comes from Tinker vs. Des Moines School District, a 1969 case in which the court overturned the suspension of students who had defied school officials by wearing black armbands to...

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