Joe Gilbertson | Jun 19, 2022 | 10
Massive Victory: Cheerleader Wins Free Speech Lawsuit
In a great step forward to protect and ensure the constitutional rights of our personal freedoms, the Supreme court has ruled this week in favor of a students right to speech off campus. After a years-long battle against overreaching school system censorship, a young cheerleader won a free speech lawsuit against forces that wanted to suppress the freedom of speech granted to our youth.
The case that made the Supreme Court was Manahoy Area School District v.s. Brandy Levy. Levy is a young girl who had tried out for the varsity cheerleading team. After the team rejected her , she posted vulgar statements outside of school on the social media platform Snapchat.
Levy shared a statement on the platform saying, “f- school, f- softball, f- cheer, f- everything”. There was also a photo of a friend raising middle fingers up at a local convenience store called Cocoa Hut. Although she posted the comment outside of the school on her own personal time, word quickly spread around town. It eventually made it back to the school district. One of the school coaches decided to suspend her from the junior varsity team for the entire year. Her parents sued. A federal appeals court then ruled that since she posted the comment off campus, they could not punish her. The case continued, making it all the way up to the Supreme court which also ultimately ruled in her favor.
The Biden Administration sided with the school system, both wanting to hold more power over the people. The administration agreed with the school district. According to ABC News, they said that, “the spread of smartphones and social media, and the need for remote learning during the pandemic blurred the line between on campus and off. No matter where a student’s expression originates, schools should be able to discipline students when a message is directed at the school and causes disruption”.
The Supreme Court decision ultimately disagreed with that assessment, as long as no real disruption had occurred. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represented the cheerleader in the free speech lawsuit. They said that young people, “have the right to find their voices without being unduly chilled, government may not penalize speech because listeners find it offensive or even disagreeable… Protecting young people’s free speech rights when they are outside of school is vital, and this is a huge victory for the free speech rights of millions of students who attend our nation’s public schools”.
The Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in her favor. This is a phenomenal sign of continued support for our collective constitutional rights.