Supreme Court may hear free speech case on cheerleader’s social media rant

A Pennsylvania school district is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take a case they lost in federal appeals court. The lower court ruled the school officials could not publish a high school freshman for profane expressions on social media even though the target was the school and school officials. The student’s lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union told the Supreme Court that their client was protected by the First Amendment since there was “no threat or harassment or mention of her school, and that did not cause or threaten any disruption of her school.” The student was expressing her disappointment with not making the varsity cheer leading team. (The New York Times, December 28, 2020, by Adam Liptak)

Social media has blurred the lines between school and home, and the school district said it is difficult for them to separate posts from school hallways from those posted in bedrooms. The Third Circuit’s finding that the cheerleader was operating on her own time and not under school supervision has not been the way the Second, Fourth and Eighth Circuits have ruled. It should be noted, though, the latter cases involved harassment, bullying and violence. (Law and Crime, December 28, 2020, by Elura Nanos)

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