In the News: Supreme Court May Hear Case about Off-Campus Student Speech

Pennsylvania high school made a “snap judgment” about cheerleader’s social-media activity

U.S. Supreme CourtThis month, the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L, reports the New York Times. B.L., a high-school cheerleader, was kicked off her school’s cheer team for sending a distasteful image and profanities via SnapChat. Discussing the case in the Spring 2018 issue of Education Next, Joshua Dunn called on the Court to take up the case:

With significant conflicts dividing the lower federal courts, it’s time for the Supreme Court to resolve them, especially given that some district administrators fear schools could be held liable for not regulating off-campus speech if, say, online bullying should culminate in violence…Educators should of course refer student speech that rises to the level of criminal conduct—say, for example, a true threat—to appropriate authorities. But schools are not community hall monitors, and the Constitution requires the protection of First Amendment rights, even when they are exercised by young people of questionable judgment.

— Education Next 

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