Supreme Court rules that ‘F--- school’ is free speech in student Snapchat case

A few Snapchat posts have set a new precedent.

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A figure of a child holding an open book decorates a flagpole at the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington October 5, 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court opens on Monday a new term in which the nine justices will decide issues such as whether a Muslim prison inmate can have a beard and whether a man can be prosecuted for making threatening statements on Facebook.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Jonathan Ernst / reuters

The Supreme Court ruled today that a high school in Pennsylvania violated a student's First Amendment rights by suspending her from the cheerleading team, following Snapchat posts where she criticized the school with expletives. The judgement sets a stronger standard for how schools can punish students for off-campus speech, something that's all the more common these days with social networks like Snapchat. The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling, which also found that the school, Mahoney Area High School, violated Brandi Levy's First Amendment rights.

After failing to make the school's varsity cheerleading team in 2017, Levy posted two Snapchat messages with a friend while hanging out at a local store. “F—  school f— softball f— cheer f— everything,” she wrote in her first message, according to CNBC. She captioned her follow-up message with "Love how me and [another student] get told we need a year of jv before we make varsity but tha[t] doesn’t matter to anyone else?” And of course, it was accompanied by an upside down smiley face emoji.


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