Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Supreme Court case risks government censorship of young people’s protected political and religious expression
The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments today (April 28) in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., a case brought by a former Pennsylvania cheerleader whose profanity-laced social media post now presents challenging questions about the authority of public school officials to regulate and punish students’ speech off campus and on social media.
The case was brought by Brandi Levy, a 14-year-old junior varsity cheerleader who did not make the varsity squad for the next year and simultaneously did not get the position she wanted on the softball team. Off school property, she aired her frustrations on social media.
“For more than 50 years, the justices have struggled to define the free-speech rights of public school students,” said Richard W. Garnett, the Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.