Cheerleader suspended over explicit Snapchat post wins court battle

A cheerleader who was suspended after sharing an explicit social media post on Snapchat has won a landmark court battle.

It broadened legal protections in the US in an era when school children are in nearly constant contact with each other through social media and text messages.

The US Supreme Court suggested exceptions for future cases, would be limited.

NBC News reported Justice Stephen Breyer's decision.

He reportedly said: "The leeway the First Amendment grants to schools," in light of the special characteristics of off-campus expression "is diminished,"

It was a victory for cheerleader Brandi Levy who was punished for a message she posted on Snapchat after discovering she didn't make the cheerleading team and would remain on the junior varsity squad.

She is said to have written: "f*** school f*** softball f*** cheer f*** everything."

The message was discovered by one of the school's cheerleading coaches and the ninth-grade student was suspended from the junior varsity team for her entire 10th year.

She and her parents sued, and a federal appeals court ruled that because her message was posted off-campus, she was beyond the reach of school authorities.

The ruling brought the court's earlier decision on student expression into the Internet age.

Defending her punishment, the Mahanoy Area School District said the spread of smartphones, social media, and the need for remote learning blurred the line between on-and-off-campus.

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It also said schools should be able to discipline students when a message is directed at the school and causes disruption.

The Justice Department said the Supreme Court's earlier cases on school speech dealt with the effects of a message on other students and school activities and not the time or location of when and where they were sent.

But NBC reported the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania said young people "have the right to find their voices without being unduly chilled."

It also found that off campus, "government may not penalise speech because listeners find it offensive or even disagreeable."

Brandi Levy, who is now a college student, said she sent her message to blow off steam.

She said: "I was a 14-year-old kid expressing my feelings and that's how kids do it, over social media,"

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