Supreme Court rules student may not be punished for posts

23 Juin, 2021, 21:23 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Supreme Court rules school wrong to punish cheerleader for profane Snapchat rant in 8-1 free speech decision

"L.'s [Brandi Levy's] interest in free expression in this case", Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the ruling. Breyer further argued the school itself has an interest in protecting student free speech, even if that speech is unpopular or frowned upon by the administration.

The case was fought in terms of injunctive relief, basically asking the school to state the punishment of Levy was wrong- the student and her family will not receive financial compensation.

Justice Clarence Thomas issueed a dissent arguing that the majority did not look closely enough at the precedents about how schools may punish students for speech that happens outside of school but could affect what happens inside of the schoolhouse gates.

In the ruling, the court held that in this instance, the school was not permitted to act upon the student's off-campus speech. While the Court says schools have some ability to regulate a student's off-campus speech, including situations like teacher harassment and severe bullying. It was sent to about 250 friends, including fellow cheerleaders at her school. President Joe Biden's administration supported the district in the case, arguing that off-campus student speech deserves broad protection unless it threatens the school community or targets specific individuals, groups or school functions.

Levy is now 18 and a freshman at Bloomsburg University.

Levy sued the school district, winning a sweeping victory from a divided three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Philadelphia.

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"It might be tempting to dismiss B".

"But", he said, "we have also made clear that courts must apply the First Amendment in light of the special characteristics of the school environment". Back then, in a case involving students suspended for wearing black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War, the court ruled that students do have free speech rights under the Constitution, as long as the speech is not disruptive to the school. "But sometimes it is necessary to protect the superfluous in order to preserve the necessary", Breyer wrote in closing his opinion. Levy has granted numerous interviews allowing her name to be used. "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.

She and her parents appealed the decision to school officials and the school board.

Sided with agriculture businesses challenging a California labor regulation that allowed union organizers on their property.

Eight cases remain to be decided, including a voting rights dispute which could affect legal challenges to voting measures put in place by Republican lawmakers following last year's elections.

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