To the Editor:
In response to “Justices Differ Sharply on Student Speech” (March 28, 2007), which reports on the U.S. Supreme Court case between an Alaska student suspended for his “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner and his high school principal:
Students now are on the front lines of the war on drugs. Whether it is through random, suspicionless student drug testing or having police dogs sniffing around school lockers for drugs, students are feeling the heavy-handedness of the government’s overzealous efforts to keep them “drug free.”
Kenneth W. Starr, the lawyer representing former Principal Deborah Morse, used the Supreme Court as a world stage to advocate the government’s zero-tolerance policy views on the war on drugs. Win or lose this case, he got his point across. Drug users and people wrestling with addiction everywhere are to be routinely demonized.
Chip by chip, or, in this case, bong hit by bong hit, our fundamental rights are going up in smoke. Americans must be made aware of this travesty.
Everyone interested in free speech should be concerned with the outcome in this case. If the government can silence us about the drug war today, it can silence us on Iraq tomorrow and global warming the day after that.
Drug Policy Alliance
New York, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the April 11, 2007 edition of Education Week as High Court’s Drug Case Is About More Than Schools