Teen Fined For Cursing In Public: Free Speech Or Disorderly Conduct?

| by Edward Arnold

Should we allow cursing in public?

“This is f------ bulls---.”

Those are the words that gave Colin Anderson a $200 fine and has ignited a freedom of speech debate about whether or not cursing should be allowed in public.

Anderson, 19 and from Michigan, was hanging out with friends in a parking lot when a friend was ticketed for skateboarding and was told to leave. That's when he swore those four words.

Police then ticketed him for disorderly conduct. He challenged the ticket in court and lost.

Another relevant case includes a Pennsylvania man who was arrested for cursing in front of police. CNS News reported he is now seeking punitive damages of $100,000 after he was found guilty of disorderly conduct.

Rana Elmir, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, commented on whether or not cursing is protected speech.

"Courts across the country have consistently ruled that cursing is speech protected by the First Amendment, regardless if people are within earshot," said Elmir.

She also said cursing in front of women and children is also protected.

This brings about the debate of whether we can have the freedom to say what we want or whether we should protect the security of society from profanity.

Source: Livingston Daily, CNS News / Photo Credit: Castanet