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Hazelwood School District V. Kuhlmeier Essay

1422 words - 6 pages

Running head: Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier

Hazelwood School District V. Kuhlmeier
in APA style
Wilkes University

In 1982, the principal of Hazelwood High School deemed two articles submitted by students to be unsuitable for circulation in the school newspaper, and had the pages removed. Principal Renalds felt the content of the articles, which referenced teenage pregnancy and divorce, would disrupt the learning environment at the school and endanger the wellbeing of students. The students felt that their first amendment rights were violated, and filed a suit against the school district. The case eventually reached the United ...view middle of the document...

The School Board also allocated these funds for items such as text books, supplies, and part of the teacher’s salary.
Toward the end of the 1982-1983 school year, the students were preparing to publish their last issue before the summer break. Once all the articles were submitted, the teacher sent the proofs to be approved by the principal, as was standard practice for the SPECTRUM. Principal Renalds objected to an article about teenage pregnancy and an article about divorce. What were Principal Renalds reasons for objecting to there article? He felt the article about pregnancy endangered the wellbeing of the individuals mentioned in the article. The article disclosed whether or not the students were using birth control, and described the reaction of the students’ parents upon discovering their child was pregnant. Although the students’ names were not given, the three individuals mentioned in article were easily identifiable by the descriptions in the article.
In the article on divorce, the author states that her father is to blame for her parents’ divorce, and describes some of his actions which she felt caused the divorce. Principal Renalds objected to this article because he felt the father did not get a fair chance to defend himself. Since there was not enough time to have the articles edited before the publishing deadline, Principle Renalds ordered that the two pages that contained the articles be removed from the newspaper before publishing. The pages that were omitted did not only contain the objectionable articles, but also articles that were not objected to by the principle. This action eventually drove the students to file a suit in Federal District Court against the school district and school officials, alleging that their first amendment rights were violated by the deletion of two pagers from the paper.
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. (Farber, 2002, p.21)” Without the first amendment, we would not have the right to voice our concerns, protest for our beliefs, choose our religion, and perhaps most importantly, disagree with our government. Is a school, however, held to the same standards? This important question has been raised several times in cases similar to Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. One such case was Tinker v. Des Moines School District, which involved three students that were reprimanded for wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. Were the students’ first amendment rights violated in this case? The school’s principal made it clear that anyone who wears black armbands to school will be suspended. The three students decided to wear them anyway, and were subsequently suspended. The students then filed a suit, stating that their...

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