Cheerleader suspended for Snapchat to have case heard by Supreme Court

A high school cheerleader who was kicked off her squad for posting ‘f**k school, f**k cheer’ on Snapchat will now have her case heard by the Supreme Court after she argued her free speech rights were violated when she was punished. 

Brandi Levy, then 14, was suspended from her cheerleading squad by the Mahanoy Area School District in Pennsylvania back in 2017 after she sent the Snapchat to her friends on a weekend.

The sophomore later successfully sued the school district over the decision to kick her off the squad by arguing that she should not have been punished for speech that occurred outside of school hours. 

Her Snapchat and suspension will be the subject of a Supreme Court case later this month that will test the boundaries of free speech for students and school discipline. 

The case, which will be the first of its kind, will essentially determine if schools can discipline students for speech made off-campus and out of school hours. 

Brandi Levy, then 14, was suspended from her cheerleading squad by the Mahanoy Area School District in Pennsylvania back in 2017 after she sent the Snapchat to her friends on a weekend

Brandi Levy, then 14, was suspended from her cheerleading squad by the Mahanoy Area School District in Pennsylvania back in 2017 after she sent the Snapchat to her friends on a weekend

Brandi Levy, then 14, was suspended from her cheerleading squad by the Mahanoy Area School District in Pennsylvania back in 2017 after she sent the Snapchat to her friends on a weekend

Brandi had posted a Snapchat to her friends over a weekend in May 2017 when she failed to make varsity in her freshman year. 

The post included her holding up her middle finger with ‘f**k school f**k softball f**k cheer f**k everything’ written across it.

She was suspended for the entire year by the coach just days later after another student showed screenshots of the post, saying it broke the cheer squad’s rules. 

Her school’s cheerleading team rules ban students from posting any ‘negative information’ about cheerleading online. 

‘I was frustrated. I was upset. I was angry. And I made a post on Snapchat,’ Levy told ABC News of the post. 

‘I said, ‘F school, F cheer, F softball, F everything’.’ 

Brandi and her family sued the school district over her suspension and she was reinstated to the cheerleading team that same year after she won a temporary restraining order. 

Brandi had posted a Snapchat to her friends over a weekend in May 2017 when she failed to make varsity in her freshman year. The post included her holding up her middle finger with 'f**k school f**k softball f**k cheer f**k everything' written across it

Brandi had posted a Snapchat to her friends over a weekend in May 2017 when she failed to make varsity in her freshman year. The post included her holding up her middle finger with 'f**k school f**k softball f**k cheer f**k everything' written across it

Brandi had posted a Snapchat to her friends over a weekend in May 2017 when she failed to make varsity in her freshman year. The post included her holding up her middle finger with ‘f**k school f**k softball f**k cheer f**k everything’ written across it

Brandi and her family sued the school district over her suspension and she was reinstated to the cheerleading team that same year after she won a temporary restraining order

Brandi and her family sued the school district over her suspension and she was reinstated to the cheerleading team that same year after she won a temporary restraining order

Brandi and her family sued the school district over her suspension and she was reinstated to the cheerleading team that same year after she won a temporary restraining order

A federal judge and a federal appeals court later sided with her, arguing the school could not punish Brandi for out-of-school speech just because it is inconsistent with teachings or because other students complained. 

Brandi insists her Snapchat did not violate the cheerleading team’s code.

‘I think that it didn’t because I was not directing towards any coaches. I didn’t have the school’s name in it. I didn’t have the coaches’ name or any teammates’ names in it,’ she said. 

Brandi’s father, Larry Levy, said the school should have handled the whole incident differently. 

‘If they would have just taken her aside and said, ‘Watch, be careful.’ But the action they took, I think reached above and beyond where they should be,’ he said. 

In a brief to the Supreme Court, the school district said the federal appeals court ruling in the case threatens to handcuff coaches and teachers across the country. 

‘The First Amendment is not a territorial straitjacket that forces schools to ignore speech that disrupts the school environment,’ the district wrote. 

‘Coaches and school administrators, not federal courts, should decide whether the coach can bench someone or ask a player to apologize to teammates. 

The sophomore later successfully sued the school district over the decision to kick her off the squad by arguing that she should not have been punished for speech that occurred outside of school hours

The sophomore later successfully sued the school district over the decision to kick her off the squad by arguing that she should not have been punished for speech that occurred outside of school hours

The sophomore later successfully sued the school district over the decision to kick her off the squad by arguing that she should not have been punished for speech that occurred outside of school hours

‘The First Amendment is not a tool for micromanaging school determinations.’ 

The case will question whether a landmark 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District decision, which allows school to regulate on-campus student speech when it’s disruptive, also applies to off-campus speech. 

It involved 13-year-old Mary Beth Tinker who was suspended from her school in December 1965 after she and other students wore black arm bands to protest the Vietnam War. 

The school banned the students from wearing them and told them they could return until they removed them. 

Tinker and the other students returned to school – but wore black for the rest of the year – and filed a First Amendment lawsuit.

The Supreme Court ruled that because wearing a black arm band was not disruptive, the students were protected by their First Amendment rights to wear them.  

Brandi’s case is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court on April 28.  

Link hienalouca.com

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