Justices Rule for Student in ‘Cursing Cheerleader’ Case


Professor Abner Greene shared his expert opinion with The Associated Press on the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of Brandi Levy, a cheerleader who was suspended from her team for her social media activity.

In the case of the cursing cheerleader, the Supreme Court notched a victory for the free speech rights of students Wednesday, siding with a high school student whose vulgar social media post got her kicked off the junior varsity squad.

The court voted 8-1 in favor of Brandi Levy, who was a 14-year-old freshman when she expressed her disappointment over not making the varsity cheerleading team with a string of curse words and a raised middle finger on Snapchat.

Levy, of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, was not at 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 freedom of speech rights. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, noting he would have upheld the suspension.

The decision was a strong endorsement of students’ right to speak freely, which the court first expressed more than a half century ago in defending armbands worn by high school students in protest of the Vietnam War, said Abner Greene, a constitutional law professor at the Fordham University School of Law in Manhattan.

“Students can engage in all kinds of critical or dissenting commentary, whether about the Vietnam War or the student cheerleading team, without losing their free speech rights. And it doesn’t matter where they say it,” Greene said.

Read the full article.


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