United States Supreme Court It was ruled on Wednesday to support a teenager in Pennsylvania who sued her after a profanity social media post and was expelled from the school’s cheerleaders in a narrowly-watched case of freedom of speech.
The judge ruled in an 8 to 1 ruling that the Mahanoy District School District officials punished the plaintiff Brandi Levy’s social media posts at a local convenience store in Mahanoy over the weekend, infringing on her. The right to freedom of speech.
Judge Stephen Breyer wrote in the ruling: “When it comes to political or religious speech outside the school or in school plans or activities, the school will bear a heavy burden to justify the intervention.”
Conservative judge Clarence Thomas dissented that the school “historically has allowed students to be disciplined under the circumstances described here.” Thomas added that the lower courts will also be “at a loss” when they try to apply the ruling.
However, in the victory of educators, the judges also retained the power of public schools to supervise the speech that occurred outside the school, and refused to support the ruling of the lower court, which found that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had a right Ensure that it is forbidden to extend the power of officials outside the school.
Breaking News –> Supreme Court supports high school cheerleaders arguing over free speech desecration of Snapchat rants https://t.co/zozbv3UABJ
— Andrew Degrandpre (@adegrandpre) June 23, 2021
The case involved the freedom of speech of approximately 50 million public school students in the United States. Many schools and educators believe that their ability to curb bullying, threats, cheating, and harassment—all of which often occur online—should not be limited to campuses.
The court considered that students have freedom of speech, especially freedom of political or religious opinion, and the ability of schools to prevent the Internet and social media era from disrupting competition.
The American Civil Liberties Union represented Levy and her parents in a lawsuit against the Mahanoy Regional School District, who believes that students need protection from censorship and supervision of their beliefs.
“Protecting the right of young people to freedom of speech outside of school is of utmost importance. This is a huge victory for the rights of millions of students in our country’s public schools to freedom of speech,” said David Cole, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, in a statement.
“The message of this ruling is clear-freedom of speech belongs to everyone, including students in public schools,” Cole said.
In this ruling, the Supreme Court confirmed what we have been saying-students enjoy greater freedom of speech outside school and in their free time.
-American Civil Liberties Union (@ACLU) June 23, 2021
Levy is now an 18-year-old college student studying accounting. She was a member of the high school junior high school team cheerleading team and joined the school team at the end of her freshman year. After failing the trial for two days, she published her Snapchat post in May 2017. She was 14 years old at the time.
She posted a photo of her and a friend raising her middle finger, and added a title that used the same curse word four times to express her dissatisfaction with cheerleading, softball, school, and “everything.”
Levy’s photo appeared on Snapchat for 24 hours, and another post questioned the selection of a young girl to the college team. Court documents showed that some cheerleaders and students were annoyed by these posts, and the controversy disrupted classroom order. As a punishment, the coach of the Mahanoi District High School kicked her out of the cheerleading team for a year.
Levy and her parents sued the area, seeking to restore the position of cheerleader, and ruled that her First Amendment rights were violated. A federal judge ordered Levy’s reinstatement, arguing that her actions were not destructive enough to be punished.
On Wednesday, Levy said in a phone call with reporters that she never thought that a social media post would eventually be controversial in the U.S. Supreme Court, but she was proud that she and her family stood up for the rights of American students.
“I think the school seems to have gone too far,” Levy said. “I’m glad that the Supreme Court agreed with me.”