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Thread: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

  1. #166
    Puffy 3:16 Puffy's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    OK - if I went to my English professor (George Grande) and told him I was writing a paper on "Language, Slang and the American Culture" and he approved it with the caveat that I could not use any "curse" words, especially the 7 words uttered by George Carlin in his famous comedy bit because it might offend people in class, when he really meant it would offend him.

    If I handed in a paper with 41 F-bombs would anyone on this thread who agrees with this woman be on my side?

    I think not - you would be saying I had instructions, I disobeyed them, I deserved the "F" and that were plenty of other ways I could have done this paper without the F-bombs.

    But since this is a Christian thing everything gets turned upside down. There were plenty of other ways for this woman to discuss Religion and its effect on American govt, and she made a choice not to use them.
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  3. #167
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis
    OK, well, there are a number of polls that say...

    Oh, well then, never mind.

    And what evidence, pray tell, would you like to see then?
    As I already stated - a Barna poll or any other poll ask questions that are very generalized and vague. It proves very, very little.

    Jesus isn't gonna judge/evaluate men on polling data.

    Questions like...

    Do you believe in God? (so do Muslims and other religions)

    How often do you attend a church? (sitting in a pew means nothing. You've heard the ol saying that hanging out at church no more makes one a Christian then hanging out at McDonalds makes one a hamburger).

    Do you believe in heaven?

    Simple routine (and harmless) questions that prove nothing.

    The only judge or scale that defines and lays done the criteria for what a Christian is/is not is the B-I-B-L-E.

    It's not about what I or you or anyone one else thinks it is, might be, or should be. That is irrelevant. It had better line up with what Jesus (who is the head of the church) dictates and the apostles taught. Anything else is simply delusion.

    After all (and I use the same argument used on here).... it is all about rules and parameters, understanding them, and obyeing them.

    That student got what she deserved because after all that teacher/institution has the right to set those parameters and define the criteria. The student's obligation is to understand and follow them, and not attempt to change those rules to fit what she thinks they should be, simply because she doesn't like or agree with them. Her deliberate dissent and refusal to not do so is what got her in trouble. She deserved the "F". And it is pointless and useless to even question or ask WHY - they set the rules.

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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Quote Originally Posted by Puffy
    OK - if I went to my English professor (George Grande) and told him I was writing a paper on "Language, Slang and the American Culture" and he approved it with the caveat that I could not use any "curse" words, especially the 7 words uttered by George Carlin in his famous comedy bit because it might offend people in class, when he really meant it would offend him.

    If I handed in a paper with 41 F-bombs would anyone on this thread who agrees with this woman be on my side?

    I think not - you would be saying I had instructions, I disobeyed them, I deserved the "F" and that were plenty of other ways I could have done this paper without the F-bombs.

    But since this is a Christian thing everything gets turned upside down. There were plenty of other ways for this woman to discuss Religion and its effect on American govt, and she made a choice not to use them.
    We've already gone over this Puffy. I, myself, agree. I'm not defending this women's actions. They were wrong.

    I simply was asking WHY such a restrictive criteria was set forth? What ws the reasoning behind it? Do one is denying that this teacher didn't have the right to set rules. But was it being unreasonable.

    And I haven't had the chance to go back and re-read (get caught up) on all that has been said/posted today - so if I missed anything I apologize - but is it true that this teacher is an avowed atheist? If so, could that have been influencial in them laying down such a criteria? She didn't want this student's beliefs to influence her paper - yet maybe his beliefs influenced him to lay down this criteria? maybe?
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    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Two quick questions that really aren't loaded even though they may sound like it:

    Would she have been okay if she used "Allah" in her paper rather than "God"? Was it specified prior to her writing the paper that the religion would be christianity or religion in general?
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered
    Two quick questions that really aren't loaded even though they may sound like it:

    Would she have been okay if she used "Allah" in her paper rather than "God"? Was it specified prior to her writing the paper that the religion would be christianity or religion in general?
    Unfortunately, the article doesn't make this clear. But I think the professor's design was to promote thinking beyond immediate, personal, emotional self-reflections and instead urge dispassionate, objective, mature, contemplative insights.

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD

    The professor's motivations are immaterial. We can only guess that he was her target and, as he's reported to be of an athiest mindset, he's a convenient one I guess. But we don't know. Maybe it was the kid from India sitting next to her. Might it have been the Iranian student two rows in front of her. Could have been the native Chinese girl up one row and to her left.

    We don't know who. But we know that she maliciously targetted someone.

    And that's all I really need to know about this one. Malicious intent. Dishonest actions. Blaming others for her own behavior. And she's using her Faith as a sheild. Wow. Just wow.
    Maybe, just maybe, she actually believes what she wrote. Crazy thought, I know. As a Christian, if someone told me to write a paper about religion having no place in government, I don't think I could do it. Not because I believe that the U.S. government should demand that all citizens worship my God, I truly believe religous freedom is a great benefit to our society, but because to me, as a Christian, Jesus has to be a part of everything, whether I want Him to be or not. My faith isn't like a coat that I can take off at the door when I enter a classroom.

    As for malicious intent and targetting someone in the class, perhaps she's just a believer of the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

    Is it malicious to do that which we are commanded?

    And I'll agree that Mrs. Hauf was wrong in the way that she undertook this. When the professor set the guidelines, she should have chosen a different topic.
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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Here's a bit more on this topic. And just because it comes from worldnetdaily.com doesn't necessarily make it untrue.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=45058

    A college in southern California is now investigating the case of a student who says she was given an F for mentioning "God" against the expressed wishes of her atheist instructor.

    Bethany Hauf, a freshman at Victor Valley Community College near San Bernadino, wrote the G-word 41 times in a paper titled "In God We Trust," examining the role of religion in government.

    She included "God" despite being told not to by adjunct English instructor Michael Shefchik.

    "He said it would offend others in class," Hauf, 34, told the Daily Press. "I didn't realize God was taboo."

    The mother of four from Apple Valley, Calif., is now demanding an apology from the school, as well as a regrading of her 10-page report.

    "I don't lose my First Amendment rights when I walk into that college," she said.

    "We are very serious about this situation," VVC spokesman Bill Greulich told WorldNetDaily. "You have two rights in conflict – the right to believe in what you believe in, and academic freedom. We're going to take steps that are appropriate. We don't have all the facts yet."

    Greulich says Hauf began the process to challenge her grade by meeting with the department chair, but did not continue up the chain of command in her recourse. He says she could still do that, appealing to the vice president, superintendent and president of the school.

    Meanwhile, Hauf has contacted the American Center for Law & Justice, which sent a letter to Patricia Spencer, president of VVC.

    Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ recounted in the letter what Shefchik wrote to Bethany when she was getting approval for her subject matter:

    "I have one limiting factor – no mention of big 'G' gods, i.e., one, true god argumentation," Shefchik stated.

    "He told me you might as well write about the Easter Bunny," Hauf told the Daily Press. "He wanted to censor the word God."

    Shefchik has not been reached for comment, but Judy Solis, chair of the English department, says Hauf was given three options: submit the report with God included, make revisions and edit out the G-word, or rewrite the entire report.

    "She continued to write her paper," Solis told the Press. "She knew what the consequences were."

    Sekulow says Hauf should have had no ban on her freedom of speech or religious views in the assignment.

    "Bethany's paper discusses some of the evidences supporting a hypothesis that, while the Constitution prohibits an established church, religion was essential to the founding of the Nation and to its governance thereafter," he writes.

    "Her paper was not one written 'about God' per se. Nor was her paper inherently and necessarily religious. And, in keeping with the requirements of the assignment, it was assiduously supported with citations to authority and written objectively. Consequently, even if, in a country in which academic and constitutional freedoms are so highly prized, it could be constitutional to impose a topical ban on papers about big 'G' gods, it was sophomoric error to read Mrs. Hauf's research paper as falling within the prohibited zone."

    Despite the failing mark on the paper, Hauf passed the spring-semester course with a final grade of C.
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    Maybe, just maybe, she actually believes what she wrote. Crazy thought, I know. As a Christian, if someone told me to write a paper about religion having no place in government, I don't think I could do it. Not because I believe that the U.S. government should demand that all citizens worship my God, I truly believe religous freedom is a great benefit to our society, but because to me, as a Christian, Jesus has to be a part of everything, whether I want Him to be or not. My faith isn't like a coat that I can take off at the door when I enter a classroom.
    Sure it isn't and that's not a bad thing. But please note that her professor only suggested that turn to her work. He allowed her to write about the influence of religion on government as long as she didn't position a Christian monotheistic slant to it. That being said, your Faith wouldn't allow you to lie for your own benefit.

    As for malicious intent and targetting someone in the class, perhaps she's just a believer of the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

    Is it malicious to do that which we are commanded?
    In our civilization, as it exists, believing that the one true Christian God is the ultimate authority does not immunize us against lesser authority, particularly when that lesser authority is just- regardless of whether or not said lesser authority is a Believer. My father taught me that and I'm a preacher's kid.

    What she did was absolutely malicious even in the loosest interpretation of the word. She anticipated that her actions would cause harm and, low and behold, here we are.

    My sister is a math super-genius. Dunno where she got those genes. But I can guarantee that if her professor told her that she could not involve Christian monotheism in a paper on the history of religion's influence on mathematics, she could complete that project even though Christian monotheism has a whole heck of a lot to do with the attempted repression of mathematical concepts.

    And if my sister ignored those instructions after appearing to acqiesce to them I'd have no problem indicting her as being just as malicious in her intent.

    And I'll agree that Mrs. Hauf was wrong in the way that she undertook this. When the professor set the guidelines, she should have chosen a different topic.
    Yep. I agree and that's where dishonesty and misplaced vengeance reared their ugly heads. With all intent and purpose, she lied about how she would complete the assignment, defied her instructor, and now wants to use the laws of man to justify her behavior which was, at it's essence, a sin.

    That's a whole lot of inconsistent for someone who supposes to share the same Faith as this guy.
    Last edited by SteelSD; 07-01-2005 at 03:39 AM.
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    "I don't lose my First Amendment rights when I walk into that college," she said.
    No, you didn't. But then, you've never had the right to do whatever you want whenever you want to. You've never had the right to have a college-level assignment graded the way you want it to be. Sorry 'bout that.

    Maybe next time instead of taking an English class you might want to take one that involves the Consitution and Bill of Rights instead?

    Just a thought.
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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    The courts may back her up on this.

    http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/st-rts.html

    In regards to day-to-day classwork, the courts have made a distinction between mere exposure to objectionable material and a school's attempt to coerce its students to adopt a particular political or religious viewpoint. Parents who can prove that coercion is taking place will have a much greater chance in court of forcing the school to accommodate to their beliefs by changing the school's practices. If coercion is not taking place, and a child is merely being exposed to objectionable material, being excused from the class is more likely.

    On the positive side, Christian students do have the right to include religious topics and research in their school work when appropriate. In Florey vs. Sioux Falls School District, Circuit Judge McMillian clarified why students have the right to use religious materials in the classroom. He states that, "To allow students only to study and not to perform religious art, literature and music when such works have developed an independent secular and artistic significance would give students a truncated view of our culture." In another case titled the Committee for Public Education vs. Nyquist, the Supreme Court stated, "The First Amendment does not forbid all mention of religion in public schools. It is the advancement or inhibition of religion that is prohibited." When presented objectively any religious topic is fair game for both student and teacher. Indeed, both could make good use of this freedom in covering such topics as the religious views of our Founding Fathers, what role Christian thought has played in important issues such as slavery and abortion, and how Christian thought has been in conflict with other world views.

    Students can be an effective instrument for reaching other students with the Gospel, but only if they are living consistently with what they believe. This is possible given the rights granted them by the U. S. Constitution. It is our job as parents to see that our schools protect the rights of our children not only to believe, but to live Christianly, for what good is freedom of religion if it covers only our private lives?

    Perhaps the argument needs to be that the teacher's instructions violated her civil rights of freedom to speech. As a public school employee, the teacher may only censor student expression if it creates a material and substantial disruption to the school's ability to fulfill its educational goals. Writing about the role of religion in government, and in so doing referencing God, does not qualify as a material and substantial disruption.

    The question in this case can not be distilled down to simply whether the student followed the instructor's rules. It is also about whether the instructor had the authority to impose the type of censorship at issue here. This was a content-based exclusion that is not permitted under the First (and Fourteenth) Amendment(s).
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Tinker et al. v. Des Moines
    Independent Community School District et al.

    Syllabus

    Petitioners, three public school pupils in Des Moines, Iowa, were suspended from school for wearing black armbands to protest the Government's policy in Vietnam. They sought nominal damages and an injunction against a regulation that the respondents had promulgated banning the wearing of armbands. The District Court dismissed the complaint on the ground that the regulation was within the Board's power, despite the absence of any finding of substantial interference with the conduct of school activities. The Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, affirmed by an equally divided court. Held:

    1. In wearing armbands, the petitioners were quiet and passive. They were not disruptive and did not impinge upon the rights of others. In these circumstances, their conduct was within the protection of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth. Pp. 505-506.

    2. First Amendment rights are available to teachers and students, subject to application in light of the special characteristics of the school environment. Pp. 506-507.

    3. A prohibition against expression of opinion, without any evidence that the rule is necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others, is not permissible under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Pp. 507-514.

    DISPOSITION: 383 F.2d 988, reversed and remanded. [504]

    MR. JUSTICE FORTAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

    Petitioner John F. Tinker, 15 years old, and petitioner Christopher Eckhardt, 16 years old, attended high schools in Des Moines, Iowa. Petitioner Mary Beth Tinker, John's sister, was a 13-year-old student in junior high school.

    In December 1965, a group of adults and students in Des Moines held a meeting at the Eckhardt home. The group determined to publicize their objections to the hostilities in Vietnam and their support for a truce by wearing black armbands during the holiday season and by fasting on December 16 and New Year's Eve. Petitioners and their parents had previously engaged in similar activities, and they decided to participate in the program.

    The principals of the Des Moines schools became aware of the plan to wear armbands. On December 14, 1965, they met and adopted a policy that any student wearing an armband to school would be asked to remove it, and if he refused he would be suspended until he returned without the armband. Petitioners were aware of the regulation that the school authorities adopted.

    On December 16, Mary Beth and Christopher wore black armbands to their schools. John Tinker wore his armband the next day. They were all sent home and suspended from school until they would come back without their armbands. They did not return to school until after the planned period for wearing armbands had expired--that is, until after New Year's Day.

    This complaint was filed in the United States District Court by petitioners, through their fathers, under § 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code. It prayed for an injunction restraining the respondent school officials and the respondent members of the board of directors of the school district from disciplining the petitioners, and it sought nominal damages. After an evidentiary hearing the District Court dismissed the complaint. It upheld [505] the constitutionality of the school authorities' action on the ground that it was reasonable in order to prevent disturbance of school discipline. 258 F.Supp. 971 (1966). The court referred to but expressly declined to follow the Fifth Circuit's holding in a similar case that the wearing of symbols like the armbands cannot be prohibited unless it "materially and substantially interfere[s] with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school." Burnside v. Byars, 363 F.2d 744, 749 (1966). [note 1]

    On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit considered the case en banc. The court was equally divided, and the District Court's decision was accordingly affirmed, without opinion. 383 F.2d 988 (1967). We granted certiorari. 390 U.S. 942 (1968).

    I

    The District Court recognized that the wearing of an armband for the purpose of expressing certain views is the type of symbolic act that is within the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. See West Virginia v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943); Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359 (1931). Cf. Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88 (1940); Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229 (1963); Brown v. Louisiana, 383 U.S. 131 (1966). As we shall discuss, the wearing of armbands in the circumstances of this case was entirely divorced from actually or potentially disruptive conduct by those participating in it. It was closely akin to "pure speech" [506] which, we have repeatedly held, is entitled to comprehensive protection under the First Amendment. Cf. Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 555 (1965); Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39 (1966).

    First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. This has been the unmistakable holding of this Court for almost 50 years. In Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), and Bartels v. Iowa, 262 U.S. 404 (1923), this Court, in opinions by Mr. Justice McReynolds, held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prevents States from forbidding the teaching of a foreign language to young students. Statutes to this effect, the Court held, unconstitutionally interfere with the liberty of teacher, student, and parent. [note 2] See also Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 [507] (1925); West Virginia v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943); McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948); Wieman v. Updegraff, 344 U.S. 183, 195 (1952) (concurring opinion); Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957); Shelton v. Tucker, 364 U.S. 479, 487 (1960); Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962); Keyishian v. Board of Regents, 385 U.S. 589, 603 (1967); Epperson v. Arkansas, ante, p. 97 (1968).

    In West Virginia v. Barnette, supra, this Court held that under the First Amendment, the student in public school may not be compelled to salute the flag. Speaking through Mr. Justice Jackson, the Court said:

    "The Fourteenth Amendment, as now applied to the States, protects the citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures--Boards of Education not excepted. These have, of course, important, delicate, and highly discretionary functions, but none that they may not perform within the limits of the Bill of Rights. That they are educating the young for citizenship is reason for scrupulous protection of Constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes." 319 U.S., at 637.

    On the other hand, the Court has repeatedly emphasized the need for affirming the comprehensive authority of the States and of school officials, consistent with fundamental constitutional safeguards, to prescribe and control conduct in the schools. See Epperson v. Arkansas, supra, at 104; Meyer v. Nebraska, supra, at 402. Our problem lies in the area where students in the exercise of First Amendment rights collide with the rules of the school authorities.

    II

    The problem posed by the present case does not relate to regulation of the length of skirts or the type of clothing, [508] to hair style, or deportment. Cf. Ferrell v. Dallas Independent School District, 392 F.2d 697 (1968); Pugsley v. Sellmeyer, 158 Ark. 247, 250 S. W. 538 (1923). It does not concern aggressive, disruptive action or even group demonstrations. Our problem involves direct, primary First Amendment rights akin to "pure speech."

    The school officials banned and sought to punish petitioners for a silent, passive expression of opinion, unaccompanied by any disorder or disturbance on the part of petitioners. There is here no evidence whatever of petitioners' interference, actual or nascent, with the schools' work or of collision with the rights of other students to be secure and to be let alone. Accordingly, this case does not concern speech or action that intrudes upon the work of the schools or the rights of other students.

    Only a few of the 18,000 students in the school system wore the black armbands. Only five students were suspended for wearing them. There is no indication that the work of the schools or any class was disrupted. Outside the classrooms, a few students made hostile remarks to the children wearing armbands, but there were no threats or acts of violence on school premises.

    The District Court concluded that the action of the school authorities was reasonable because it was based upon their fear of a disturbance from the wearing of the armbands. But, in our system, undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression. Any departure from absolute regimentation may cause trouble. Any variation from the majority's opinion may inspire fear. Any word spoken, in class, in the lunchroom, or on the campus, that deviates from the views of another person may start an argument or cause a disturbance. But our Constitution says we must take this risk, Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949); and our history says that it is this sort of hazardous freedom--this kind of openness--that is [509] the basis of our national strength and of the independence and vigor of Americans who grow up and live in this relatively permissive, often disputatious, society.

    In order for the State in the person of school officials to justify prohibition of a particular expression of opinion, it must be able to show that its action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint. Certainly where there is no finding and no showing that engaging in the forbidden conduct would "materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school," the prohibition cannot be sustained. Burnside v. Byars, supra, at 749.

    In the present case, the District Court made no such finding, and our independent examination of the record fails to yield evidence that the school authorities had reason to anticipate that the wearing of the armbands would substantially interfere with the work of the school or impinge upon the rights of other students. Even an official memorandum prepared after the suspension that listed the reasons for the ban on wearing the armbands made no reference to the anticipation of such disruption. [note 3] [510]

    On the contrary, the action of the school authorities appears to have been based upon an urgent wish to avoid the controversy which might result from the expression, even by the silent symbol of armbands, of opposition to this Nation's part in the conflagration in Vietnam. [note 4] It is revealing, in this respect, that the meeting at which the school principals decided to issue the contested regulation was called in response to a student's statement to the journalism teacher in one of the schools that he wanted to write an article on Vietnam and have it published in the school paper. (The student was dissuaded. [note 5])

    It is also relevant that the school authorities did not purport to prohibit the wearing of all symbols of political or controversial significance. The record shows that students in some of the schools wore buttons relating to national political campaigns, and some even wore the Iron Cross, traditionally a symbol of Nazism. The order prohibiting the wearing of armbands did not extend to these. Instead, a particular symbol--black armbands worn to exhibit opposition to this Nation's involvement [511] in Vietnam--was singled out for prohibition. Clearly, the prohibition of expression of one particular opinion, at least without evidence that it is necessary to avoid material and substantial interference with schoolwork or discipline, is not constitutionally permissible.

    In our system, state-operated schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students in school as well as out of school are "persons" under our Constitution. They are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State. In our system, students may not be regarded as closed-circuit recipients of only that which the State chooses to communicate. They may not be confined to the expression of those sentiments that are officially approved. In the absence of a specific showing of constitutionally valid reasons to regulate their speech, students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views. As Judge Gewin, speaking for the Fifth Circuit, said, school officials cannot suppress "expressions of feelings with which they do not wish to contend." Burnside v. Byars, supra, at 749.

    In Meyer v. Nebraska, supra, at 402, Mr. Justice McReynolds expressed this Nation's repudiation of the principle that a State might so conduct its schools as to "foster a homogeneous people." He said:

    "In order to submerge the individual and develop ideal citizens, Sparta assembled the males at seven into barracks and intrusted their subsequent education and training to official guardians. Although such measures have been deliberately approved by men of great genius, their ideas touching the relation between individual and State were wholly different from those upon which our institutions rest; and it hardly will be affirmed that any legislature could impose such restrictions upon the people of a [512] State without doing violence to both letter and spirit of the Constitution."

    This principle has been repeated by this Court on numerous occasions during the intervening years. In Keyishian v. Board of Regents, 385 U.S. 589, 603, MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, speaking for the Court, said:

    "'The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools.' Shelton v. Tucker, [364 U.S. 479,] at 487. The classroom is peculiarly the 'marketplace of ideas.' The Nation's future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure to that robust exchange of ideas which discovers truth 'out of a multitude of tongues, [rather] than through any kind of authoritative selection.'"

    The principle of these cases is not confined to the supervised and ordained discussion which takes place in the classroom. The principal use to which the schools are dedicated is to accommodate students during prescribed hours for the purpose of certain types of activities. Among those activities is personal intercommunication among the students. [note 6] This is not only an inevitable part of the process of attending school; it is also an important part of the educational process. A student's rights, therefore, do not embrace merely the classroom hours. When he is in the cafeteria, or on the playing field, or on [513] the campus during the authorized hours, he may express his opinions, even on controversial subjects like the conflict in Vietnam, if he does so without "materially and substantially interfer[ing] with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school" and without colliding with the rights of others. Burnside v. Byars, supra, at 749. But conduct by the student, in class or out of it, which for any reason--whether it stems from time, place, or type of behavior--materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. Cf. Blackwell v. Issaquena County Board of Education, 363 F.2d 749 (C. A. 5th Cir. 1966).

    Under our Constitution, free speech is not a right that is given only to be so circumscribed that it exists in principle but not in fact. Freedom of expression would not truly exist if the right could be exercised only in an area that a benevolent government has provided as a safe haven for crackpots. The Constitution says that Congress (and the States) may not abridge the right to free speech. This provision means what it says. We properly read it to permit reasonable regulation of speech-connected activities in carefully restricted circumstances. But we do not confine the permissible exercise of First Amendment rights to a telephone booth or the four corners of a pamphlet, or to supervised and ordained discussion in a school classroom.

    If a regulation were adopted by school officials forbidding discussion of the Vietnam conflict, or the expression by any student of opposition to it anywhere on school property except as part of a prescribed classroom exercise, it would be obvious that the regulation would violate the constitutional rights of students, at least if it could not be justified by a showing that the students' activities would materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school. Cf. Hammond [514] v. South Carolina State College, 272 F.Supp. 947 (D. C. S. C. 1967) (orderly protest meeting on state college campus); Dickey v. Alabama State Board of Education, 273 F.Supp. 613 (D. C. M. D. Ala. 1967) (expulsion of student editor of college newspaper). In the circumstances of the present case, the prohibition of the silent, passive "witness of the armbands," as one of the children called it, is no less offensive to the Constitution's guarantees.

    As we have discussed, the record does not demonstrate any facts which might reasonably have led school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities, and no disturbances or disorders on the school premises in fact occurred. These petitioners merely went about their ordained rounds in school. Their deviation consisted only in wearing on their sleeve a band of black cloth, not more than two inches wide. They wore it to exhibit their disapproval of the Vietnam hostilities and their advocacy of a truce, to make their views known, and, by their example, to influence others to adopt them. They neither interrupted school activities nor sought to intrude in the school affairs or the lives of others. They caused discussion outside of the classrooms, but no interference with work and no disorder. In the circumstances, our Constitution does not permit officials of the State to deny their form of expression.

    We express no opinion as to the form of relief which should be granted, this being a matter for the lower courts to determine. We reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

    Reversed and remanded.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART, concurring.

    Although I agree with much of what is said in the Court's opinion, and with its judgment in this case, I [515] cannot share the Court's uncritical assumption that, school discipline aside, the First Amendment rights of children are co-extensive with those of adults. Indeed, I had thought the Court decided otherwise just last Term in Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629. I continue to hold the view I expressed in that case: "[A] State may permissibly determine that, at least in some precisely delineated areas, a child--like someone in a captive audience--is not possessed of that full capacity for individual choice which is the presupposition of First Amendment guarantees." Id., at 649-650 (concurring in result). Cf. Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158.

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE, concurring.

    While I join the Court's opinion, I deem it appropriate to note, first, that the Court continues to recognize a distinction between communicating by words and communicating by acts or conduct which sufficiently impinges on some valid state interest; and, second, that I do not subscribe to everything the Court of Appeals said about free speech in its opinion in Burnside v. Byars, 363 F.2d 744, 748 (C. A. 5th Cir. 1966), a case relied upon by the Court in the matter now before us.

    MR. JUSTICE BLACK, dissenting.

    The Court's holding in this case ushers in what I deem to be an entirely new era in which the power to control pupils by the elected "officials of state supported public schools . . ." in the United States is in ultimate effect transferred to the Supreme Court. [note 1] The Court brought [516] this particular case here on a petition for certiorari urging that the First and Fourteenth Amendments protect the right of school pupils to express their political views all the way "from kindergarten through high school." Here the constitutional right to "political expression" asserted was a right to wear black armbands during school hours and at classes in order to demonstrate to the other students that the petitioners were mourning because of the death of United States soldiers in Vietnam and to protest that war which they were against. Ordered to refrain from wearing the armbands in school by the elected school officials and the teachers vested with state authority to do so, apparently only seven out of the school system's 18,000 pupils deliberately refused to obey the order. One defying pupil was Paul Tinker, 8 years old, who was in the second grade; another, Hope Tinker, was 11 years old and in the fifth grade; a third member of the Tinker family was 13, in the eighth grade; and a fourth member of the same family was John Tinker, 15 years old, an 11th grade high school pupil. Their father, a Methodist minister without a church, is paid a salary by the American Friends Service Committee. Another student who defied the school order and insisted on wearing an armband in school was Christopher Eckhardt, an 11th grade pupil and a petitioner in this case. His mother is an official in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

    As I read the Court's opinion it relies upon the following grounds for holding unconstitutional the judgment of the Des Moines school officials and the two courts below. First, the Court concludes that the wearing of armbands is "symbolic speech" which is "akin to 'pure speech'" and therefore protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Secondly, the Court decides that the public schools are an appropriate place to exercise "symbolic speech" as long as normal school functions [517] are not "unreasonably" disrupted. Finally, the Court arrogates to itself, rather than to the State's elected officials charged with running the schools, the decision as to which school disciplinary regulations are "reasonable."

    Assuming that the Court is correct in holding that the conduct of wearing armbands for the purpose of conveying political ideas is protected by the First Amendment, cf., e.g., Giboney v. Empire Storage & Ice Co., 336 U.S. 490 (1949), the crucial remaining questions are whether students and teachers may use the schools at their whim as a platform for the exercise of free speech--"symbolic" or "pure"--and whether the courts will allocate to themselves the function of deciding how the pupils' school day will be spent. While I have always believed that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments neither the State nor the Federal Government has any authority to regulate or censor the content of speech, I have never believed that any person has a right to give speeches or engage in demonstrations where he pleases and when he pleases. This Court has already rejected such a notion. In Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 554 (1965), for example, the Court clearly stated that the rights of free speech and assembly "do not mean that everyone with opinions or beliefs to express may address a group at any public place and at any time."

    While the record does not show that any of these armband students shouted, used profane language, or were violent in any manner, detailed testimony by some of them shows their armbands caused comments, warnings by other students, the poking of fun at them, and a warning by an older football player that other, nonprotesting students had better let them alone. There is also evidence that a teacher of mathematics had his lesson period practically "wrecked" chiefly by disputes with Mary Beth Tinker, who wore her armband for her "demonstration." [518] Even a casual reading of the record shows that this armband did divert students' minds from their regular lessons, and that talk, comments, etc., made John Tinker "self-conscious" in attending school with his armband. While the absence of obscene remarks or boisterous and loud disorder perhaps justifies the Court's statement that the few armband students did not actually "disrupt" the classwork, I think the record overwhelmingly shows that the armbands did exactly what the elected school officials and principals foresaw they would, that is, took the students' minds off their classwork and diverted them to thoughts about the highly emotional subject of the Vietnam war. And I repeat that if the time has come when pupils of state-supported schools, kindergartens, grammar schools, or high schools, can defy and flout orders of school officials to keep their minds on their own schoolwork, it is the beginning of a new revolutionary era of permissiveness in this country fostered by the judiciary. The next logical step, it appears to me, would be to hold unconstitutional laws that bar pupils under 21 or 18 from voting, or from being elected members of the boards of education. [note 2]

    The United States District Court refused to hold that the state school order violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments. 258 F.Supp. 971. Holding that the protest was akin to speech, which is protected by the First [519] and Fourteenth Amendments, that court held that the school order was "reasonable" and hence constitutional. There was at one time a line of cases holding "reasonableness" as the court saw it to be the test of a "due process" violation. Two cases upon which the Court today heavily relies for striking down this school order used this test of reasonableness, Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), and Bartels v. Iowa, 262 U.S. 404 (1923). The opinions in both cases were written by Mr. Justice McReynolds; Mr. Justice Holmes, who opposed this reasonableness test, dissented from the holdings as did Mr. Justice Sutherland. This constitutional test of reasonableness prevailed in this Court for a season. It was this test that brought on President Franklin Roosevelt's well-known Court fight. His proposed legislation did not pass, but the fight left the "reasonableness" constitutional test dead on the battlefield, so much so that this Court in Ferguson v. Skrupa, 372 U.S. 726, 729, 730, after a thorough review of the old cases, was able to conclude in 1963:

    "There was a time when the Due Process Clause was used by this Court to strike down laws which were thought unreasonable, that is, unwise or incompatible with some particular economic or social philosophy.

    . . . .

    "The doctrine that prevailed in Lochner, Coppage, Adkins, Burns, and like cases--that due process authorizes courts to hold laws unconstitutional when they believe the legislature has acted unwisely--has long since been discarded."

    The Ferguson case totally repudiated the old reasonableness-due process test, the doctrine that judges have the power to hold laws unconstitutional upon the belief of judges that they "shock the conscience" or that they are [520] "unreasonable," "arbitrary," "irrational," "contrary to fundamental 'decency,'" or some other such flexible term without precise boundaries. I have many times expressed my opposition to that concept on the ground that it gives judges power to strike down any law they do not like. If the majority of the Court today, by agreeing to the opinion of my Brother FORTAS, is resurrecting that old reasonableness-due process test, I think the constitutional change should be plainly, unequivocally, and forthrightly stated for the benefit of the bench and bar. It will be a sad day for the country, I believe, when the present-day Court returns to the McReynolds due process concept. Other cases cited by the Court do not, as implied, follow the McReynolds reasonableness doctrine. West Virginia v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, clearly rejecting the "reasonableness" test, held that the Fourteenth Amendment made the First applicable to the States, and that the two forbade a State to compel little schoolchildren to salute the United States flag when they had religious scruples against doing so. [note 3] Neither Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88; Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359; Edwards [521] v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229; nor Brown v. Louisiana, 383 U.S. 131, related to schoolchildren at all, and none of these cases embraced Mr. Justice McReynolds' reasonableness test; and Thornhill, Edwards, and Brown relied on the vagueness of state statutes under scrutiny to hold them unconstitutional. Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 555, and Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39, cited by the Court as a "compare," indicating, I suppose, that these two cases are no longer the law, were not rested to the slightest extent on the Meyer and Bartels "reasonableness-due process-McReynolds" constitutional test.

    I deny, therefore, that it has been the "unmistakable holding of this Court for almost 50 years" that "students" and "teachers" take with them into the "schoolhouse gate" constitutional rights to "freedom of speech or expression." Even Meyer did not hold that. It makes no reference to "symbolic speech" at all; what it did was to strike down as "unreasonable" and therefore unconstitutional a Nebraska law barring the teaching of the German language before the children reached the eighth grade. One can well agree with Mr. Justice Holmes and Mr. Justice Sutherland, as I do, that such a law was no more unreasonable than it would be to bar the teaching of Latin and Greek to pupils who have not reached the eighth grade. In fact, I think the majority's reason for invalidating the Nebraska law was that it did not like it or in legal jargon that it "shocked the Court's conscience," "offended its sense of justice," or was "contrary to fundamental concepts of the English-speaking world," as the Court has sometimes said. See, e.g., Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165, and Irvine v. California, 347 U.S. 128. The truth is that a teacher of kindergarten, grammar school, or high school pupils no more carries into a school with him a complete right to freedom of speech and expression than an anti-Catholic or anti-Semite carries with him a complete freedom of [522] speech and religion into a Catholic church or Jewish synagogue. Nor does a person carry with him into the United States Senate or House, or into the Supreme Court, or any other court, a complete constitutional right to go into those places contrary to their rules and speak his mind on any subject he pleases. It is a myth to say that any person has a constitutional right to say what he pleases, where he pleases, and when he pleases. Our Court has decided precisely the opposite. See, e.g., Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 555; Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39.

    In my view, teachers in state-controlled public schools are hired to teach there. Although Mr. Justice McReynolds may have intimated to the contrary in Meyer v. Nebraska, supra, certainly a teacher is not paid to go into school and teach subjects the State does not hire him to teach as a part of its selected curriculum. Nor are public school students sent to the schools at public expense to broadcast political or any other views to educate and inform the public. The original idea of schools, which I do not believe is yet abandoned as worthless or out of date, was that children had not yet reached the point of experience and wisdom which enabled them to teach all of their elders. It may be that the Nation has outworn the old-fashioned slogan that "children are to be seen not heard," but one may, I hope, be permitted to harbor the thought that taxpayers send children to school on the premise that at their age they need to learn, not teach.

    The true principles on this whole subject were in my judgment spoken by Mr. Justice McKenna for the Court in Waugh v. Mississippi University in 237 U.S. 589, 596-597. The State had there passed a law barring students from peaceably assembling in Greek letter fraternities and providing that students who joined them could be expelled from school. This law would appear on the surface to run afoul of the First Amendment's [523] freedom of assembly clause. The law was attacked as violative of due process and of the privileges and immunities clause and as a deprivation of property and of liberty, under the Fourteenth Amendment. It was argued that the fraternity made its members more moral, taught discipline, and inspired its members to study harder and to obey better the rules of discipline and order. This Court rejected all the "fervid" pleas of the fraternities' advocates and decided unanimously against these Fourteenth Amendment arguments. The Court in its next to the last paragraph made this statement which has complete relevance for us today:

    "It is said that the fraternity to which complainant belongs is a moral and of itself a disciplinary force. This need not be denied. But whether such membership makes against discipline was for the State of Mississippi to determine. It is to be remembered that the University was established by the State and is under the control of the State, and the enactment of the statute may have been induced by the opinion that membership in the prohibited societies divided the attention of the students and distracted from that singleness of purpose which the State desired to exist in its public educational institutions. It is not for us to entertain conjectures in opposition to the views of the State and annul its regulations upon disputable considerations of their wisdom or necessity." (Emphasis supplied.)

    It was on the foregoing argument that this Court sustained the power of Mississippi to curtail the First Amendment's right of peaceable assembly. And the same reasons are equally applicable to curtailing in the States' public schools the right to complete freedom of expression. Iowa's public schools, like Mississippi's university, are operated to give students an opportunity to learn, not to talk politics by actual speech, or by "symbolic" [524] speech. And, as I have pointed out before, the record amply shows that public protest in the school classes against the Vietnam war "distracted from that singleness of purpose which the State [here Iowa] desired to exist in its public educational institutions." Here the Court should accord Iowa educational institutions the same right to determine for themselves to what extent free expression should be allowed in its schools as it accorded Mississippi with reference to freedom of assembly. But even if the record were silent as to protests against the Vietnam war distracting students from their assigned class work, members of this Court, like all other citizens, know, without being told, that the disputes over the wisdom of the Vietnam war have disrupted and divided this country as few other issues ever have. Of course students, like other people, cannot concentrate on lesser issues when black armbands are being ostentatiously displayed in their presence to call attention to the wounded and dead of the war, some of the wounded and the dead being their friends and neighbors. It was, of course, to distract the attention of other students that some students insisted up to the very point of their own suspension from school that they were determined to sit in school with their symbolic armbands.

    Change has been said to be truly the law of life but sometimes the old and the tried and true are worth holding. The schools of this Nation have undoubtedly contributed to giving us tranquility and to making us a more law-abiding people. Uncontrolled and uncontrollable liberty is an enemy to domestic peace. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that some of the country's greatest problems are crimes committed by the youth, too many of school age. School discipline, like parental discipline, is an integral and important part of training our children to be good citizens--to be better citizens. Here a very small number of students have crisply and summarily [525] refused to obey a school order designed to give pupils who want to learn the opportunity to do so. One does not need to be a prophet or the son of a prophet to know that after the Court's holding today some students in Iowa schools and indeed in all schools will be ready, able, and willing to defy their teachers on practically all orders. This is the more unfortunate for the schools since groups of students all over the land are already running loose, conducting break-ins, sit-ins, lie-ins, and smash-ins. Many of these student groups, as is all too familiar to all who read the newspapers and watch the television news programs, have already engaged in rioting, property seizures, and destruction. They have picketed schools to force students not to cross their picket lines and have too often violently attacked earnest but frightened students who wanted an education that the pickets did not want them to get. Students engaged in such activities are apparently confident that they know far more about how to operate public school systems than do their parents, teachers, and elected school officials. It is no answer to say that the particular students here have not yet reached such high points in their demands to attend classes in order to exercise their political pressures. Turned loose with lawsuits for damages and injunctions against their teachers as they are here, it is nothing but wishful thinking to imagine that young, immature students will not soon believe it is their right to control the schools rather than the right of the States that collect the taxes to hire the teachers for the benefit of the pupils. This case, therefore, wholly without constitutional reasons in my judgment, subjects all the public schools in the country to the whims and caprices of their loudest-mouthed, but maybe not their brightest, students. I, for one, am not fully persuaded that school pupils are wise enough, even with this Court's expert help from Washington, to run the 23,390 public school [526] systems [note 4] in our 50 States. I wish, therefore, wholly to disclaim any purpose on my part to hold that the Federal Constitution compels the teachers, parents, and elected school officials to surrender control of the American public school system to public school students. I dissent.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, dissenting.

    I certainly agree that state public school authorities in the discharge of their responsibilities are not wholly exempt from the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment respecting the freedoms of expression and association. At the same time I am reluctant to believe that there is any disagreement between the majority and myself on the proposition that school officials should be accorded the widest authority in maintaining discipline and good order in their institutions. To translate that proposition into a workable constitutional rule, I would, in cases like this, cast upon those complaining the burden of showing that a particular school measure was motivated by other than legitimate school concerns--for example, a desire to prohibit the expression of an unpopular point of view, while permitting expression of the dominant opinion.

    Finding nothing in this record which impugns the good faith of respondents in promulgating the armband regulation, I would affirm the judgment below.
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  13. #177
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Oh, and

    http://www.vvc.edu/about_campus/index.htm

    Simply put, at Victor Valley College everything is based on one primary foundation: "The Student Is Always First!"

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  14. #178
    Member SteelSD's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    The courts may back her up on this.

    http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/st-rts.html

    Perhaps the argument needs to be that the teacher's instructions violated her civil rights of freedom to speech. As a public school employee, the teacher may only censor student expression if it creates a material and substantial disruption to the school's ability to fulfill its educational goals. Writing about the role of religion in government, and in so doing referencing God, does not qualify as a material and substantial disruption.

    The question in this case can not be distilled down to simply whether the student followed the instructor's rules. It is also about whether the instructor had the authority to impose the type of censorship at issue here. This was a content-based exclusion that is not permitted under the First (and Fourteenth) Amendment(s).
    Sava, you're looking at a High School case. There's a distinct difference between a public HS employee and a college professor. There's also, of course, a distinct difference between a HS student and a college student (who chose to apply for admission to that college).

    Furthermore, the student's assignment does not fall under the "freedom of expression" clause. And, even further, "freedom of expression" does not include grading assigned to said expression. The woman's rights were not at all limited and she was given the option to turn in a paper that included her freedom of expression.

    Any argument deriving from that case is a non-starter on so many levels.
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  15. #179
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    ROSENBERGER v. UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...l=515&page=819

    to scrutinize the content of student speech, lest the expression in question – speech otherwise protected by the Constitution – contain too great a religious content . . . That eventuality raises the specter of governmental censorship, to ensure that all student writings and publications meet some baseline standard of secular orthodoxy. To impose that standard on student speech . . . is to imperil the very sources of free speech and expression.
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  16. #180
    Member SandyD's Avatar
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    Re: Term paper about "God" earns student failing grade

    A term paper for a college writing class is an exercise in research and critical thinking as well as expression. Professors frequently place limitations on paper topics to help challenge the student to broaden their minds. I believe I've been asked to argue against my personal beliefs on more than one occasion in classes such as these.

    And professors are generally more than willing to work with a student who asks for help in meeting the guidelines. If this student had gone to the professor ahead of time with an outline and a paragraph or two where she wanted to use the "big 'G' god", he might have been willing to modify the rules.

    A paper that's being turned in for an assignment doesn't really come under the first amendment ... she can write and publish a paper using "God" all she wants. But this was an assignment with established guidelines.

    If that were the case, how could a professor turn down or limit any paper topic at all?


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