WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The US Supreme Court issued the most significant opinion in decades strengthening the free speech rights of students when they are off-campus.
When Brandi Levy was suspended from her school’s cheer squad for a profane Snapchat post, she fought back in court. On Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in her favor.
“I never could have imagined that one single Snap could turn into a whole Supreme Court case, but I’m proud that my family and I advocated for the rights of millions of students,” Levy said following the decision.
In that 8-1 opinion, the justices said the school violated the cheerleader’s First Amendment rights, saying schools can sometimes regulate off-campus speech but not all off-campus speech.
The court said schools can control speech that causes significant disruptions or involves severe bullying or harassment. The opinion also leaves open the door for other reasons for enforcement, but the ACLU — which represented Levy in court — said the ruling still sends a strong message about protecting students’ religious and political speech.
The ACLU also said students nationwide can breathe easier and appreciate an important lesson.
This opinion is considered the most significant ruling about student speech in more than 50 years.