WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a Pennsylvania public school wrongly suspended a cheerleader over a vulgar social media post.
The court voted 8-1 in favor of Brandi Levy, who was a 14-year-old freshman in the Mahanoy Area School District, when she expressed her disappointment over not making the varsity cheerleading team on Snapchat with a string of curse words and a raised middle finger.
The court wrote: “[T]he school itself has an interest in protecting a student’s unpopular expression, especially when the expression takes place off campus. America’s public schools are the nurseries of democracy.”
Levy 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 rights.
But the justices did not foreclose schools from disciplining students for what they say off campus.