The California Supreme Court reversed the conviction of a 15-year-old San Jose boy who wrote a poem including the words, “For I can be the next kid to bring guns to kill students at school” and “For I am Dark, Destructive & Dangerous.” The poem wasn’t OK because it was artistic expression, say the justices. They just didn’t think the poem was a threat.
The case weighed free speech rights against the government’s responsibility to provide safe schools. The justices said school officials overreacted to the poem by the San Jose boy, identified as George T. in court records.
“What is readily apparent is that much of the poem plainly does not constitute a threat,” Justice Carlos Moreno wrote for the unanimous, seven-member court.
George T. was expelled from Santa Teresa High, and spent 100 days in a juvenile jail. He has no record of violence before or after writing the poem, which he showed to a classmate.