A cheerleader was suspended from her team for using curse words. However, the Supreme Court has revealed that a school can’t discipline a cheerleader for cursing on Snapchat.
The ruling maintained that students have the right to express themselves freely and this outweighs the interest of the school in preventing disruptive speech in the future.
The Snapchat caption read “fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything.’
The majority opinion was delivered by Justice Stephen Breyer this morning. He maintained that the student known as Brandi Levy shouldn’t have been punished for what she did. She was suspended from her cheerleading group for posting vulgar words about school sports.
While public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the school are not sufficient to overcome B. L.’s interest in free expression in this case.Justice Breyer
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Levy who had tried out for cheerleading had vented her opinion about the results on Snapchat. When another student saw the snap and complained about it, the school suspended Levy for one year.
Breyer’s ruling states that Levy posted the Snapchat message after school hours and she was also away from the school’s campus. According to Breyer, Levy spoke like an adult.
He maintained that while the school punished Levy for posting curse words on social media, it had no law that students should be punished for swearing outside school hours.
Breyer said that schools can discipline students for some off-campus speech like harassment and bullying. He also maintained that the increase in distance learning caused by the pandemic complicated the issue.
The way Levy utilized social media was important, she had sent the post to her close friends and students. The cheerleader didn’t tag the school nor mention it. The ruling supports students who make offensive statements online that aren’t harmful or threatening.