The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with a former high-school cheerleader who was punished after posting a profane rant on Snapchat, ruling that a Pennsylvania school district violated the First Amendment by suspending her from the team.
Brandi Levy and her parents had sued Mahanoy Area High School after she was punished for posting profanity on Snapchat when she missed out on making the varsity cheerleading team in 2017. The Supreme Court ruled in Levy’s favour by 8-1. Levy posted a photo of herself and a friend with upraised middle fingers and the caption “F— school, f— softball, f— cheer, f— everything.”
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Levy was 14 years old when she made this post. While the Supreme Court found Levy’s school went too far when it punished her for her social media posts, which are entitled to First Amendment protections, Breyer wrote there is some student speech that takes place off campus that schools can regulate, such as bullying or harassment and threats aimed at teachers or other students.
“[W]e 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,” he wrote. “The school’s regulatory interests remain significant in some off-campus circumstances.” Breyer went onto say