The First Amendment and Student Speech: Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.
In June 2021, the United States Supreme Court issued an 8-1 ruling in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. by and through Levy, 141 S.Ct. 2038 (2021), holding that the suspension by a public high school of a student from the school’s cheerleading team, after the student sent a vulgar social-media messagedisparaging the team while she was off campus, violated the First Amendment. In doing so, the Supreme Court held that, although public schools may have an interest in regulating student speech, this interest is diminished when the speech occurs off campus. The Court provided much-needed guidance to lower courts about how to evaluate restrictions on off-campus student speech under the First Amendment.