The U.S. Supreme Court ("SCOTUS") on Friday agreed to decide whether a school district can punish students for off-campus speech. SCOTUS agreed to decide the First Amendment issue challenged when a high school cheerleader in PA was suspended from the junior varsity squad profane languaged on the social media platform, Snapchat, after failing to make the varsity squad.
The cheerleader's school officials suspended the teenager from the squad for a year, citing cheerleading rules.
The Supreme Court ruled in a 1969 precedent holding that public schools can regulate speech only if it would materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school. The case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, involved students suspended for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Philadelphia broke with other federal appeals courts when it ruled that Tinker does not apply to off-campus speech, according to the cert petition filed by the Mahanoy Area School District.