Frazier v. Smith Dropped by Supreme Court

By Emma Berkel

   On Monday, October 5th, the US Supreme Court denied review for the case of Frazier v. Smith. Beginning with an incident which occurred in December of 2005, the case dealt with whether or not students in public schools had the first amendment right to deny standing and repeating the Pledge of Allegiance.

   The more specific issue at hand was a Florida law, similar to those of other states, which required students from kindergarten to 12th grade to stand and participate in the daily reciting of the pledge unless they came with a written excuse from a parent. The law predated the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in 1943 which declared students could not be forced to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. Unfortunately, such a ruling did not clarify whether or not the students themselves held the power to refuse or if the power lay with the parents.

   Cameron Frazier, a junior at Florida’s Boynton Beach High School, refused to stand or say the pledge under the grounds that it was a matter of his own conscience and, as he claims was the result, his teacher openly berated him in front of the class before he was subsequently expelled from the room.

   Frazier filed a law suit against the school district, the offending teacher, the Florida Department of Education, as well as the state Board of Education and, while he dropped charges against the district, he pursued his case against the state until it was brought before the Supreme Court.

   However, Frazier v. Smith will not receive a ruling from the high court and, as is practice, no reason was given for the justices’ denial. Still, many people feel that the case should have been reviewed as there is a clear controversy over the subject matter.

   “He should say the pledge,” Mikayla Beebe, sophomore, said. She went on to explain that unless a student is eighteen they should not have the right to refuse to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance as they are underage and still under the jurisdiction of their parents.

   In contrast, Matt Broussard, sophomore, said, “I support his point and unless they hear it, he will have to give up his first amendment right.”

   Faced with these two different opinions, both of which can be seen nationwide, it’s a wonder why the case went unheard and, as James Tracey, social studies department chair, concluded, “The case should be heard by the Supreme Court.”