Brett Thompson

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Many things have changed since the United States Supreme Court's last major student speech case, Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, was decided in 1988. In 1999 a tragic school shooting occurred at Columbine High School in Colorado. During that same time period, there were a number of other occurrences of major violence at public schools. Since then, schools and legislatures have scrambled to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents. For example, a number of states have enacted anti-bullying statutes. Some were motivated to do so by a U.S. Secret Service report indicating that bullying played a role in many school shootings. Indeed, the two shooters at Columbine had been bullied. Thus, it is logical for school officials and legislators to want to do everything in their power to ensure that students in their schools are not subjected to abusive speech that might evoke feelings of rage that could lead to further violence.