The Supreme Court just gave a cheerleader a W-I-N. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
A Pennsylvania cheerleader was disciplined by her school and kicked off the JV team because, after hearing that she didn’t make the varsity cheer team, she went home and posted a curse-laden tweet. She filed a lawsuit against the school, saying it violated her First Amendment rights.
Now, in the past, the court has said that while a student has a right to free speech that she doesn’t leave at the gate when she enters the schoolyard, the court has also acknowledged the school has the right to discipline a student for what she says—even off campus—if it causes a substantial disruption. Well, the Supreme Court just decided in the cheerleader’s case that the school’s interest in teaching good manners was not enough to justify this first amendment restriction. The Court did not say that the school could never discipline a student for off-campus speech, but it will face a high burden to prove it acted lawfully if it does.