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In January 2002, for the first time, the Olympic Torch
Relay visited Alaska on its way to the Winter Games.
When the relay runner and accompanying camera
cars passed Juneau-Douglas High School, senior
Joseph Frederick and several friends unfurled a
fourteen-foot banner reading “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS.”
An in-depth look at student rights within a public
high school, this book chronicles the events that followed:
Frederick’s suspension, the subsequent suit
against the school district, and, ultimately, the escalation
of a local conflict into a federal case. Brought to
life through interviews with the principal figures in
the case, BONG HiTS 4 JESUS is a gripping tale of the
boundaries of free speech in an American high school.
By following one case very closely over a long time [Foster] finds opportunities to discuss a variety of issues involved in constitutional litigation. . . . This is an interesting analysis that clearly reveals there is more to the law than the pronouncement of high courts.
—Law & Politics Review
Dangerous, disruptive unprotected speech or a sophomoric
grab for TV face time? Foster’s fascinating and
comprehensive book about Morse v. Frederick...walks
readers through every stage of a case that resulted in
the U.S. Supreme Court establishing a “messy precedent”
that may deeply affect First Amendment speech
rights for years to come. Sensitive in its portrayal of
both students’ rights and school authority, BONG HiTS
4 JESUS...considers whether this recalibration of student
speech rights is a major retreat.
—Jill Norgren, Professor Emerita, The City University of New York
An appealing synthesis of first-person interviews, historical and doctrinal
analysis, and political science research on judicial politics, the book examines the case from multiple perspectives as a vehicle for critical understanding of the Supreme Court's decision.
—S. B. Lichtman, Shippensburg University, Choice, May 2011
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