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Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser

United States Supreme Court
478 U.S. 675 (1986)


Facts

Matthew Fraser (plaintiff), a high school senior was suspended for three days by the Bethel School District (defendant) after he gave a lewd speech full of sexual innuendos in front of six hundred students at a school assembly. The speech was designed to promote Fraser’s fellow classmate for a student government position, and the assembly was part of a school-sponsored educational program in self-government. During the speech, some students yelled, some performed graphic gestures, and some looked bewildered and confused. Fraser brought suit in federal district court challenging his suspension as a violation of his First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The district court ruled in his favor and the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

Concurrence (Brennan, J.)

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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