The Supreme Court's ruling in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. was a big victory for cheerleader Brandi Levy. Still, George Washington Law Professor and student speech expert Catherine J. Ross warns that the decision left unanswered many questions regarding school's authority to regulate off-campus speech.
In an 8-1 decision on June 23rd, the Supreme Court ruled that a student’s off-campus speech was protected by the First Amendment. The case, Mahanoy Area School District v B.L., involves a message posted on Snapchat by a then-14 year old student identified as “B.L.”, after she learned she failed to advance from the junior varsity to the varsity cheerleading squad. The message, posted on a Saturday afternoon when she was off-campus, stated, in part, “f*** cheer, f***everything.”
Two elementary school students in Ardmore, Oklahoma were pulled from their public school classrooms for wearing “Black Lives Matters” t-shirts,” reports The New York Times. Such action likely violates the First Amendment, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision protecting student-initiated expression in the public schools—Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969).
A federal court ruled that two Wisconsin public schools that banned students from wearing clothing with depictions of firearms did not violate students' First Amendment rights. The decision to side with the school came as an unpleasant surprise to free speech scholars who thought the schools’ dress code policies were overly restrictive.
On Wednesday, April 28th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a student speech case, Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. We compiled basic information about the facts of the case, the legal questions at issue, and what experts are saying about it.
A New Jersey school district agreed to pay $325,000 to a teacher as part of a settlement after the teacher sued the district for emotional distress and imposing an unconstitutional gag order on her speech. She claims the school spread a false story that she altered students' photographs to remove Trump slogans from their clothing.
For almost 50 years, the Westside Wired, Westside High School's student newspaper, has been a leading example in independent, timely hard-hitting student journalism. Now, students say a new prior review policy is threatening that legacy.
On January 8th, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a high school student who was suspended from her cheerleading team for a Snapchat selfie she made after school hours. The lower courts are currently split as to whether a school can discipline off-campus speech that is substantially disruptive and closesly linked to school.