Bethel v. Fraser
March 3rd - July 7th, 1986
People in the Case
Petitioners - Bethel School District
Respondent - Matthew N. Fraser
- William A. Coats (Petitioner)
- Jeffrey T. Haley (Respondent)
About the Case
At a school assembly for the student government, Matthew Fraser gave a speech for his friend who was running for Vice President. His speech contained sexual metaphors to promote the candidate. The school took disciplinary action by with holding Fraser from speaking at graduation and suspending him for two days. Fraser took the Bethel School District to court and claimed that they violated the First Amendment.
Decision of the Court
The court decided that it was appropriate for the school to prohibit the use of vulgar language. They distinguished between political speech in the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District and Fraser's sexual content in his speech. They concluded that the First Amendment did not prohibit schools from prohibiting vulgar speeches.