One woman misunderstood what the First Amendment protects. A judge just educated her. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
The mother of a thirteen-year-old Michigan girl, who had been suspended from school and kicked off the volleyball team for posting photos on Snapchat of her underage drinking binge, sued the school, claiming it violated her daughter’s First Amendment rights. According to the mom, the case was akin to the Pennsylvania case recently decided by the Supreme Court, in which a girl was kicked off her school’s cheerleading team because of her profanity-laced posts after she didn’t make varsity.
The Supreme Court found that the school had violated the cheerleader’s freedom of speech by disciplining her for expressing her opinion, albeit in an unladylike way. But in the case of the thirteen-year-old volleyball player, the court rejected her mother’s argument, saying that the girl’s free speech rights were not at issue here; she wasn’t punished for what she said but for what she did—drinking. The photos were just evidence to prove her misdeeds.