Journalism Education Association criticizes 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' ruling

KANSAS — The Journalism Education Association released a statement July 2 that criticized the Morse v. Frederick U.S. Supreme Court decision and urged schools and students to use caution in applying the recent ruling to avoid excessive student censorship.

JEA, an organization of journalism teachers headquartered at Kansas State University, said it is concerned about the June 25 decision because it is “potentially damaging to robust discussion of a whole range of important issues.” It advised schools to see the decision in a “limited light.”

John Bowen, the JEA Scholastic Press Rights Commission chair, said in the statement that Morse should not be treated as “an excuse to control or prevent speech school officials do not agree with or find controversial.”

The statement included “harsh words” for Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion, which expressed a desire to overturn the 1969 Supreme Court decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that established student free expression rights.

JEA said it plans to create resources for educators and students — including a national contest for student journalists — to help them understand and cope with the implications of the Morse decision.