Pubdate: Mon, 10 Nov 2008
Source: Post, The (Ohio U, OH Edu)
Copyright: 2008 The Post
Author: Emily Glauser
Bookmark: (Students - United States)


Whoever thought that a simple banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus"
could spark a six-and-a-half-year outcry?

Thursday marked the day that a former senior high school student was
finally freed from the court system's long and arduous grasp. Yes
people, I am  talking about Joseph Frederick.

Since we were all much younger people when little Joseph's crime
initially took place, allow me to explain his story. In 2002, high
school senior Joseph Frederick was suspended from an Olympic torch
relay at  his high school in Juneau, Alaska, for displaying a sign
reading "Bong Hits for Jesus." The school's accusation? The sign
promoted illegal drug use. He  faced suspension from school due to his

After appeals to the school board, the superintendent, the district
court and finally the U.S. Supreme Court, the Associated Press
reported that Frederick was  informed that the expression on his
banner was not  protected under the First Amendment right to free 
speech. Long after graduating from the high school, it  is finally
officially declared that what he did was wrong. All it took was six
years worth of debate!

Let's play the popular game "How many things are wrong with this
Supreme Court decision?" How about the fact  that our tax dollars have
been funding a battle against markers, poster board and a senior
prank? Or that the combination of the words "Bong" and "Jesus" can
take you from your principal's office to the floor of the Supreme
Court? And mostly, that people cared enough to keep this fiasco going
for longer than Joseph was in high school in the first place? Thank
you, Alaska, for showing us where your priorities really lie.

Now I don't know what goes on in Alaska, but if holding up a sign in
Juneau with the word "Bong" on it gets you a half-decade court trial,
it'll be a long time before I think of heading up north. This was an
18-year-old  kid playing a joke on an uptight community.  Furthermore,
the sign doesn't specifically reference drugs whatsoever. For anyone
familiar with the local  Import House, a "bong" is called a "tobacco
product,"  not a weapon of destruction and anarchy.

I can recall some pretty risky senior pranks in my high school that
involved rats, roaches and clogged up toilets that caused more chaos
than the thought of Jesus toking up. But I think the Supreme Court
could care less. It's amazing that in a such a long, drawn-out court
decision process, no one stopped to  think, "This whole case seems
like it's being controlled by people who are more stoned than Joseph 
Frederick could ever hope Olympic torch-watchers to  be."

But opinions can run wild. Religious fanatics and drug enthusiasts
galore can protest this case, but the end result is that the Juneau,
Alaska, school system is out $45,000 because of it. Put that in your
bong and smoke  it. The moral of this story? In Alaska, nothing is
more  offensive than bongs and Jesus, and Juneau is willing to spend
as much money as possible to make that clear  to all -- smokers or
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