U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Public School Students’ Off-Campus Speech Rights

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In a win for freedom of speech, the U.S. Supreme Court held that public high school officials violated a student’s First Amendment rights when they suspended her from cheerleading for posting a vulgar Snapchat selfie over the weekend and off school grounds. EFF filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of the student, and a brief that proved influential in the Third Circuit.

The case, Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., involved a public high school student who was placed on the junior varsity cheerleading squad after failing to make varsity. Out of frustration, Brandi Levy (later identified by her full name since she is no longer a minor) shared a “snap” with her middle finger raised and text that said, among other things, “fuck cheer.” The message was posted on a Friday night from a local convenience store. The cheerleading coaches suspended Levy from the J.V. squad for a year after one of her Snapchat connections took a screen shot of the

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