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Fricke v. Lynch

United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island
491 F. Supp. 381 (1980)


Facts

Cumberland High School (the school) holds a senior prom each year. Seniors are not required to attend, but all attendees must bring an escort and disclose the name of that person when purchasing tickets. Aaron Fricke (plaintiff) requested permission to bring a male date to the prom when he purchased his tickets. The prior year another male student, Paul Guilbert, had requested to bring a male date to the junior prom. That request was denied by Principal Richard Lynch (defendant), and the event resulted in threats from other students directed at Guilbert. One student even slapped Guilbert. In response, Principal Lynch arranged for Guilbert to be escorted by school administration for his safety. No further incidents occurred. Principal Lynch was similarly concerned for Fricke’s safety and denied Fricke’s request to bring a male date to the prom. Fricke’s request was publicized, and Fricke was subjected to threats. In addition to the threats, another student punched Fricke, which resulted in Fricke needing five stitches under his eye. The student who punched Fricke was suspended, and Principal Lynch arranged for school administration to escort Fricke on school grounds. No further incidents occurred. Fricke sued Principal Lynch, alleging a violation of his rights under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and sought an injunction allowing him to attend the prom with a male date.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Pettine, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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