Following are excerpts from the Supreme Court's opinion by Justice Byron R. White and the dissenting opinion by Justice William J. Brennan Jr. in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier.


. . . The First Amendment rights of students in the public schools are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings . . . and must be applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment.

. . . A school must also retain the authority to refuse to sponsor student speech that might reasonably be perceived to advocate drug or alcohol use, irresponsible sex, or conduct otherwise inconsistent with the shared values of a civilized social order . . . or to associate the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy.

. . . We hold that educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.

. . . It is only when the decision to censor a school-sponsored publication, theatrical production . . . {or other activity} has no valid educational purpose that the First Amendment is so directly and sharply implicated as to require judicial intervention to protect students' constitutional rights."


. . . {E}ven if the majority were correct that the principal could constitutionally have censored the objectionable material, I would emphatically object to the brutal manner in which he did so. Where the separation of legitimate from illegitimate speech calls for more sensitive tools . . . the principal used a paper shredder. He objected to some material in two articles but excised six entire articles. He did not so much as inquire into obvious alternatives, such as precise deletions . . . rearranging the layout, or delaying publication. Such unthinking contempt for individual rights is intolerable from any state official. It is particularly insidious from one to whom the public entrusts the task of inculcating in its youth an appreciation for the cherished democratic liberties that our Constitution guarantees.

. . . Instead of teaching children to respect the diversity of ideas that is fundamental to the American system . . . and that our Constitution is a living reality, not parchment preserved under glass. . . . The court today teaches youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes. . . . The young men and women of Hazelwood East expected a civics lesson, but not the one the court teaches them today.

I dissent.