Supreme Court Debates the Merits of Students’ Free Speech in Cheerleader Case

April 29, 2021
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed the case of teenager Brandi Levy, trying to determine whether or not public schools have the power to regulate student speech off-campus. This case examines the role of the First Amendment in the digital world, where students express themselves openly. The Justices grappled with whether Levy’s speech is protected despite the post being offensive, concerning the school and occurring off campus. However, both parties conceded that a school can discipline students when they leave school property. Others acknowledged that social media is where kids express themselves, that the removal of that freedom would leave kids with fewer outlets to let off steam and, in this case, there was no material and substantial disruption of school. At the conclusion of the day’s arguments, the general sense in the courtroom seemed to be that Levy’s case may not be the best one upon which to make an extensive ruling on student speech, which could be attributed to the fact that her one-year suspension was overly harsh. A decision on the case is still expected by the end of the Court’s term in June.