Supreme Court considers student Snapchat suit
The Supreme Court will consider hearing about whether a high school cheerleader's suspension from the team violated the First Amendment after she posted a photo on Snapchat using profanity and her middle finger when she did not make the varsity team.
After failing to make her varsity cheerleading squad, high school student "B.L." vented her frustration to about 250 friends on Snapchat with a friend. The students used their middle fingers, used profanity, and expressed anger toward her school, softball team, cheer team, and "everything." The post eventually made its way to her school's administration and B.L. was suspended from the team for a year. She sued and won at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court this month will consider whether to hear the case – Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. – to offer guidance as to just how far a school's reach extends when it comes to punishing students for online, off campus speech. Smart phones have propelled students into the online world in the last decade. According to a 2018 report by the American Academy of Adolescent and Child Psychiatry, 75% of teens have at least one active social media profile, and 51% report visiting a social media site at least daily. On average, teens are online almost nine hours a day, not including time for homework. The Mahanoy case comes at a time when students are spending more time online amid remote learning due to COVID-19. For more on this story, visit the New York Times.