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School's Fight To Censor Ensures We Won't Forget

Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, 31st August 2006

When it comes to Bong Hits 4 Jesus, here's some Advice 4 Dummies: If the phrase poses such a threat to the health and future of any teenager exposed to it, then stop making a federal case out of it.

If the Juneau School Board, in its infinite stubbornness, is so worried that the message waved on a banner four years ago at a nonschool event will lead high school kids down the path to illegal drug use, why does it insist on giving the message such tremendous exposure?

Google "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" and you'll get 14,100 hits. Included among them is proof positive that the message has become part of the vernacular: It has its own Wikipedia entry.

And all Joe Frederick wanted was to catch the eye of a TV cameraman.

Frederick is the man who, back when he was a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School, made a 10-foot banner to wave as the Olympic torch relay passed through Juneau. A true Alaska artist, he used butcher paper as his canvas and duct tape as his paint to craft the sign that now waves in perpetuity: Bong Hits 4 Jesus.

The school principal, Deborah Morse, went nuts -- even though Frederick wasn't on school property, wasn't at a school-sponsored event, wasn't under direct supervision of school employees and wasn't representing the school in any way imaginable.

Nor did he cause a disruption at school. School officials admitted as much to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lawyers for Morse and the school board argue that Morse's confiscation of the banner and suspension of Frederick were justified because the poster was inconsistent with the school's mission to teach a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Complete Article: http://tinyurl.com/k6td7

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