Supreme Court sides with HS cheerleader suspended over profanity-laced Snapchat

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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.

With a 8-1 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the school district's argument that it did have that authority as needed "to discipline speech that disrupts the campus or harms other students", per the Post-Gazette.

The case concerned Brandi Levy, a Pennsylvania high school student who had expressed her dismay over not making the varsity cheerleading squad by sending a colourful Snapchat message to about 250 people. That meant the then-sophomore from Mahanoy City, Pa., would spend another year on the junior varsity team-but the cheer coach saw a screenshot of the post, and Levy was suspended for the year in retaliation, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Breyer wrote that the court has made clear that students "do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression even 'at the school house gate".

The last case of student's first amendment rights was Tinker v. Des Moines in 1969, when students wore armbands to protest the Vietnam War and their school suspended them.

Maggie Hroncich is an intern at The Federalist and a student at Hillsdale College.

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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. But Breyer and the justices who sided with him said such off-campus speech limits must be light because "when coupled with regulations of on-campus speech", off-campus limits "include all the speech a student utters during the full 24-hour day".

"F-- school, f-- softball, f-- cheer, f-- everything".

Levy is now 18 and 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. "But sometimes it is necessary to protect the superfluous in order to preserve the necessary", he wrote, using Levy's initials because that was how she was identified in the original lawsuit.

But when it comes to this case, Breyer wrote the school didn't overcome three measures for regulating off-campus speech. "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.

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