Legal Brief Speeker V. South Bay County School District

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Speeker vs. South Bay County School District Facts Susie Speeker attended a community sponsored health fair. Susie’s school, Oliver Wendell Holmes High School, had a booth at the fair. One of the topics her school chose to cover was the harmful effects of drug use. Susie attended the fair with her mother, father, and brother. Susie’s mother is a breast cancer survivor. The Speeker family believes that marijuana should be legalized for compassionate use. Susie held a sign at the fair that stated “Be compassionate, legalize marijuana for medical purposes.” Susie was photographed carrying the sign. The picture of Susie, with the sign, was published in the school paper. She was suspended from school for ten days. Issue Did the school district have the right to suspend Susie for her action? Assuming the school district was not justified in its action; does Susie have a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983? Discussion 42 U.S.C. 1983 made relief available to those whose constitutional rights have been violated by anyone acting under State authority. 42 U.S.C. 1983 was used in the case Tinker v. Des Moines; the law included making school boards liable if they stood in the way of federally-protected rights. Susie was suspended from school for 10 days to uphold school policy. Susie and her parents appealed the suspension to the South Bay County School District which upheld the suspension. Tinker v. Des Moines sets precedent for this case. In the case of Tinker v. Des Moines, the Court held that students have a First Amendment right to display armbands at school. The case ascertained that wearing of the armbands did cause aggressive disruptive action or group demonstrations and sought to punish petitioners for a silent, passive expression of opinion unaccompanied by any type of disturbance on the part of petitioners. District Court based their decision of the idea that
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