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04.03 The Decision

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Amber A.

on 13 November 2014

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Transcript of 04.03 The Decision

T.M. v. State of Florida
T.M. v. State of Florida
T.M. v. State of Florida
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
I, Amber, support the majority opinion on the case of T.M. v. State of Florida.
What most influenced my decision and interpretations in this case was the fact that the students could not be trusted with concealing the identities of the interviewees within the article, since it was proven that their identities were not fully hidden. The topics in the article were about teen pregnancy and criticism of parents, which can be controversial and thus distracting in a school environment. The principal of the school, upon observation, noticed the identities were not hidden well. With a deadline to meet, there was no way the students would have been able to revise the newspaper and reorganize the articles, so the principal took out the pages. In this case the principal made a responsible decision given the interests of the school as well as rights of other students.

I tended to favor strict interpretation of the laws and rights of this case. I apply the First Amendment to everyone, regardless of legal status or age. Next I did not believe that the ordinance served a legitimate public interest, for it didn't have any data to prove the law reduced crime. I, however, recognized that many laws are reasonable yet unproven. Lastly, the ordinance interfered with parents' right to raise their own teens, excluding government oversight. This shows I have have a strict interpretation of the laws and purpose of government.


The factor that most influenced your decision and interpretations in this case was the First Amendment. I believe the First Amendment to be very important because a minor should have the right to assembly in public places without being cited because they were out past curfew. In a different scenario, the minor could have just been trying get somewhere important, and the police would have been interfering for no good reason. In this case the police were punishing a minor when he wasn't involved in any criminal activity. So, I find this to be unconstitutional.

I tended to favor a middle position between loose and strict interpretation of the laws and rights in this case. I acknowledged that students had rights, but that are were also some reasonable restrictions, specifically in a school setting. Next, I believed that while a newspaper can be a forum for public expression, the principal of the school had a valid reason to alter it. Whether or not educators violate First Amendment rights by censoring student content depends on the situation. Censoring students generally isn't allowed. But in this case, the content the students included in the newspaper violated the rights of others and may have disrupted the school environment. Lastly, the principal was being fair when he removed the pages containing the pregnancy and divorce articles before the newspaper was being printed. This is one scenario where I think the school system was taking responsible action to maintain the rights of others and that it was in the best interest of the public.
I, Amber, write this opinion to support the majority opinion on the case of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier.
Assessment
T.M. v. State of Florida
04.03 The Decision
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
My views reflect the majority opinion on this case because I thought the curfew ordinance was unconstitutional. I do believe a city may have an interest in passing laws deminishing behavior for the public's health and safety. However, I do not think this was the case; the law was not narrowed enough in Pinellas Park. It did not include all reasonable exceptions, and it certainly didn't target only activities most likely to result in crime. Rather, I think Pinella Park was doing the opposite. The dissenting opinion, on the other hand, felt that the curfew ordinance was constitutional. They thought it was equitable, also pointing out that I, along with the majority, interpreted the law too strictly. In addition, the minority judge did not agree that minors had the right to assembly in public places during late hours. The judge claimed there had to be an adult with them.
My views reflect the majority opinion on this case because I thought that the censorship of the newspaper pages didn't violate student rights under the First Amendment. The majority opinion also included the fact that the principle acted responsibly since the rights of other students in the articles were in question. Furthermore, they did not think the Tinker standard applied to this case. In the Tinker case, personal expression was by students rather than through a school newspaper. The dissenting opinion, however, felt that the Tinker standard did in fact apply to this case. The dissent claimed while the articles are from a school newspaper, they still reflect personal student views. Then the dissent went on to express concern for permitting the censorship in this case, because they believe it would lead to great infringements on First Amendment rights.
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