In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that a Pennsylvania school district violated a student's free speech after she used explicit language regarding the school's cheerleading squad on Snapchat. The court ruled that while schools do maintain some interest in regulating students' off-campus speech, the factors in the case of the cheerleader, Brandi Levy, weighed against the school's actions.
Brandi Levy, now an 18-year-old college freshman, was a ninth grader at Mahanoy Area High School who had just failed to make the varsity cheer squad when she chose to air her frustrations on social media.
Despite ruling in Levy's favour, Breyer wrote that "we do not believe the special characteristics that give schools additional license to regulate student speech always disappear when a school regulates speech that takes place off campus".
But nevertheless, the school could not discipline Levy, the court said, because her speech in this instance was not disruptive.
As the lone dissenter, Justice Clarence Thomas, argued the majority painted with "broad brushstrokes" in their ruling and essentially ignored "150 years of history supporting the coach".
Maggie Hroncich is an intern at The Federalist and a student at Hillsdale College.
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The U.S. Supreme Court sided with students in a case involving a cheerleader who dropped F-bombs on Snapchat against her school. Additionally, courts need to be extra skeptical of when schools try to regulate off-campus speech, because it essentially allows them to find issues with anything a student says throughout the day.
While he agreed generally that schools should have less authority over off-campus student speech, he objected to the majority's decision not to explore how much less.
Levy, now 18, is a freshman at Bloomsburg University.
Before the case made it to the Supreme Court, judges in two federal courts and an appeals court had ruled in favor of Levy.
"It might be tempting to dismiss B". Finally, Breyer wrote that public schools also have an interest in protecting Free Speech, because they serve as "nurseries of Democracy".
Brandi Levy, a former cheerleader in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, and a key figure in a major case about free speech, in an undated photo provided by the American Civil Liberties Union. "If today's decision teaches any lesson, it must be that the regulation of many types of off-premises student speech raises serious First Amendment concerns, and school officials should proceed cautiously before venturing into this territory", Alito wrote.