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Running head: Article # 3 1

Article # 3

Jordan K Roberson

College of Southern
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In this paper, I discuss the scenario for artifact # 3. The I used court cases to justify

whether Bill was foster First Amendment rights were Violated or not.
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Article # 2

A school in the northeastern part of the United States was concerned about student safety

and gang violence in the school. The high school decided to ban gang-related clothing, which

included items like jewelry, emblems, earrings, and athletic caps. Most of the students complied

with the new policy, and there was no issue with the dress code. The were no problems with the

policy until Bill Foster filed a lawsuit after being suspended for wearing an earring. Bill Foster

had no prior gang affiliation and, thought that earring would gain the attention of the girls at

school. The school had no choice but to suspend him but, did they violate his freedom of


This case deals with the First Amendment particularly with expression because Bill

Foster was suspended for wearing an earring that the school associated with gangs. The First

Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or

prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the

right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of

grievances.” (U.S. Const. Amend.)This Amendment gives U.S. citizen the protection to express

their religion, speech, and to protest but, like a public employee, students have a restriction on

certain kind of speech and expression. According to The Legal Right of Teacher and Students,

“Restrictions can be placed on student grooming and attire if based on legitimate educational and

safety objectives and not intended to suppress expression.” Meaning that if the student attire

affects education or safety of the students that the school can restrict the expression.

The first case that shows his freedom of expression was not violate is Olesen v Board of

education. This case is very similar to Bill Fosters because Olesen and Foster both violate the

school gang policy by wearing an earring. In Olesen v. Board of education the courtside with the
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Board of education. According to Olesen v. Board of Educ. of School Dist “Olesen's only

message is one of his "individuality." To send that message, he is willing to violate school rules

designed to protect him and his fellow students.” (Olesen v. Board of Educ. of School Dist.,

2018) This means that Olesen was putting his “individuality” over the safety of the others

student. “individuality” or want to attract the attention from female students does not give Foster

the right to violate school policy. The school was right in restricting the dress code policy

because its gangs disrupt safety in the school environment.

The school has the right to remove kinds of free speech that disrupt the school

environment. A student can choose to express a non-disruptive ideology. (McCabe, 2014) Foster

chose to wear an earring that is disruptive to the school whether or not he had any prior gang

affiliation. Wearing an earring that has an association with a gang cause violence and danger for

the students in the school. According to Oyez “Burger concluded that the First Amendment did

not prohibit schools from prohibiting vulgar and lewd speech since such discourse was

inconsistent with the "fundamental values of public school education." (Bethel School District

No. 403 v. Fraser, 2018) This means that expression in school must coincide with the values of

the school. One of the most important values in education is student safety. Bill Foster’s choice

to wear the earring as a form of self-expression put everyone in the school in danger because the

association the earring has with gangs. The school did not violate the student rights to be

suspending him for his earrings.

In the case of the Bill Foster the school was wrong for suspending him for an earring. The

suspension violated his protected speech protected by the First Amendment. Foster did not wear

the earring because he was affiliated with the gang, but as an accessory to gain the attention of

girls in the school. The case of Chalifoux v. New Caney support Bill case against the suspension.
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Law.justia.com states that “Therefore, the Court finds that NCISD's restriction on rosaries does

not "bear more than a reasonable relation" to regulating gang activity in the District. Yoder, 406

U.S. at 233, 92 S. Ct. at 1542.” (Chalifoux v. New Caney, 2018) This means for the policy for

the earring to be valid there would have to be a strong relationship between the earring and the

gang activity. This would make Bill Foster suspension invalid because earing does not have

enough relation to the gang and be an actual threat.

The next case that supports against Bill Foster’s suspension is Tinker v. Des Moines. In

both cases, the student chooses to wear articles of clothing that the school had banned and

claimed that it violated the First Amendment right. The court ruled in favor of Tinker in this

case. According to Oyez “ To justify the suppression of speech, the school officials must be able

to prove that the conduct in question would "materially and substantially interfere" with the

operation of the school.” (Tinker v. Des moines Independent Community School District, 2018)

This means that for school to suppress speech or expression school officials need to weight how

much it will affect the school operation. Students wearing ban to protest the Vietnam War did

not cause enough to interfere with the operation of the school. Similar there earring that Bill

Foster wore for self-expression would not interfere with the function of the school. Therefor

suspending Bill Foster violated the students’ rights.

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In the end, the courts would have decided that the school did not violate the students First

Amendment rights. Tinker v. Des Moines is a strong argument for students’ rights but,

According to Legal Right of Teacher and Students “, indecent attire can be curtailed regardless

of whether the attire would meet the Tinker test of threatening a disruption.” (McCabe, 2014)

This means that even though the earring would pass the Tinker test, the school can still restrict

certain kind of attire. By allowing Foster to wear the earring, it would allow associated gang

attire into the school. The school will weigh if the expression is in line with school values. The

most important values in school student safety and by allowing the earring it would put the

school and student in danger of gang violence. The court would have ruled in the school favor

because the expression violates the school values of student safety.

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Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser. (2018, April 18). Retrieved from Oyez:


Chalifoux v. New Caney. (2018, 4 18). Retrieved from Justia:


McCabe, N. H. (2014). Legal Rights of teachers and Student, 3 edition. New Jersey: Pearson

Education Inc.

Olesen v. Board of Educ. of School Dist. (2018, 4 18). Retrieved from Justia US Law:


Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. (2018, 4 18). Retrieved from

Oyez: https://www.oyez.org/cases/1968/21

U.S. Const. Amend. I.