Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier: The Background
The case of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier is one of the most famous legal matters in U.S. history. Catherine Kuhlmeier was a student at East High School in St. Louis County, Missouri. The young student was a leading member of the school’s newspaper, titled “The Spectrum.”
The case of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier deals with what was published in the paper and how those stories affected the girl’s First Amendment rights or Freedom of Speech liberties. The school paper had a review process for what can and cannot be produced. This process consisted of the Principal of the School looking over the subject matter and content expressed in the paper.
When the principal of East High School discovered that the paper wanted to produce stories dealing with teen pregnancy and divorce, he said that those stories were a violation of the student body’s right to privacy. The articles were specific in nature and used some students as examples. The principal claimed that the stories did not protect the identities of the students mentioned in the articles. In response to outlawing the articles from being posted, the school paper claimed that the principal had violated their 1st Amendment rights.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier: The Case Profile
The Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case began on October 13th of 1987. Catherine Kuhlmeier filed the case because she claimed the Hazelwood school district violated her First Amendment rights to free speech. In Kuhlmeier v. Hazelwood, Catherine Kuhlmeier claimed that the news printed in her publication did not break any laws with regard to the public school system.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier: The Verdict
The case of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier was heard in the United States Supreme Court. Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier was decided on January 13th of 1988.
The United States Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the Hazelwood School District. The court stated that public settings, such as schools, will differ based on their location. As a result of this variance, the public school and their attached rules will govern over what can be produced by any publication associated with the school. Therefore, a school may not be entitled to adhere completely to the 1st Amendment.
The 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures that all American citizens are granted the freedom to express themselves in accordance with the law. The 1st Amendment, which is part of the Bill of Rights, prohibits the passing of any law that impedes the free practice of religion, free speech, and freedom of the press.