When a ninth-grade student in Pennsylvania expressed her frustration in crude language on social media after failing to make the varsity cheerleading squad, she was suspended from the junior varsity squad (“A Cheerleader’s Vulgar Message Prompts a First Amendment Showdown,” The New York Times, Dec. 28). The student sued the district, winning in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which held that public schools can’t punish students for off-campus speech.
School administrators want the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case in order to get a definitive ruling on the issue. I hope the high court rules against the school district. What the student said was not disruptive and contained no threat. So what were school officials thinking when they decided to punish her for one year? If her speech contained a threat of violence of any sort, that would be an entirely different matter.
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