CM – Snapchatting cheerleaders will have Landmark Freedom of Student Speech Case in SCOTUS


A 14-year-old girl from Pennsylvania who blew up her school on Snapchat is getting her tag in court: The Supreme Court.

This is the first case to address the freedom of speech for students or minors that the Supreme Court has heard for 50 years.

The last was the landmark case of Tinker v Des Moines in 1969, when students wore armbands in protest of the Vietnam War and their school suspended them.

The Supreme Court joined the students, stating that students « do not lose their constitutional rights to freedom of expression at the schoolhouse gate. »

Brandi Levy of Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County, told the world on Snapchat that she was angry that she was joining the junior cheerleading squad University of the school not with the post « F – school f – softball f – jubilation f – – everything » in a post that shows a photo of her and a friend who gives the middle finger.

At 18 Years ago and graduating from college, Levy told the Associated Press, “I was a 14 year old kid. I was upset, I was angry. Everyone, every 14-year-old child speaks like that at some point. “

Her parents didn’t find out about the Snapchat post until she was suspended, she said. « My parents were more concerned about how I was feeling, » Levy said, adding that she wasn’t grounded or otherwise punished for what she did.

Her parents filed a federal lawsuit claiming that The suspension violated her daughter’s constitutional speaking rights – the lower courts agreed – and put her back on the cheerleading team.

« Tinker does not apply to off-campus speeches, » said the 3rd US Appeals Court in Philadelphia. « The impact of off-campus speech by students threatening violence or harassing others » was left for another day, according to court records.

Many groups felt the court was going too far: « The first amendment does not categorically prohibit public schools from disciplining students for speaking off campus, » wrote Acting Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar on behalf of the Biden Administration.

The Mahanoy Area School District has refused to comment on the case, except that the case is about how schools approach the bad days in a letter released by the school’s attorney. Schools should not be forced to « ignore language that disrupts the school environment or violates the rights of other students just because the students started this speech from a distance of one meter in front of the school gate, » wrote Blatt. </ According to Witold “Vic” Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union, who represents Levy, the school method of monitoring students would enable educators to monitor students around the clock.

“And that’s super dangerous . Students like Brandi could not only express non-threatening, non-harassing bursts of frustration, but also give schools the opportunity to regulate important political and religious speeches, « said Walczak.

Both conservative and liberal groups support Levy in the case as well Mary Beth and John Tinker, the siblings at the center of the 1969 case.

Their protest, updated for the digital age, would have included a social media component, possibly a black armband digitally their school logo According to the AP, the couple wrote in a high court letter.

The result proposed by the school district would have been subject to discipline, the Tinkers wrote.

« This speech is not the most important in the world. This is not a political or religious speech, « said Walczak, the ACLU’s attorney.

 » I’m just trying to prove that young students and adults like me shouldn’t be punished for expressing their own feelings and knowing others let the way they feel, « said Levy.


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