Good news for all the teenagers in your life who swear like sailors. The Supreme Court says they can’t be punished by their schools for colorful language off school property, outside of school hours—IF their speech is not a significant disruption to the school environment.
This is where it gets tricky: The Court didn’t exactly prohibit schools from disciplining students for off campus speech, but the ruling didn’t spell out when a school could act either. This particular case was just a bridge too far.
The AP has more on the case of freshman Brandi Levy:
The court voted 8-1 in favor of Brandi Levy, who was a 14-year-old high school freshman when she expressed her disappointment over not making the varsity cheerleading squad with a string of curse words and a raised middle finger on Snapchat.
Levy, of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, was not in school when she made her post, but she was suspended from cheerleading activities for a year anyway. In an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer, the high court ruled that the suspension violated Levy’s First Amendment freedom of speech rights.
Brandi’s offense that got her suspended for a year from her cheer team?
Going on Snapchat and posting “F——— school f——— softball f——— cheer f——— everything.”
Her school district took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. For that.
Go swear up a storm, kids.