WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a Pennsylvania public school wrongly suspended a cheerleader over a vulgar social media post she made after she didn’t qualify for the varsity team.
The court voted 8-1 in favor of Brandi Levy, who was a 14-year-old high school freshman when she expressed her disappointment over not making the varsity cheerleading squad on Snapchat with a string of curse words and a raised middle finger.
Levy, of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, 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. An earlier federal appeals court ruling in this case would have barred public schools from punishing off-campus speech.