A Teenager’s Post Creates Supreme Court Free Speech Case


Picture Credit: Washington Post

Olivia Christensen, Staff Writer

      After making the Junior Varsity cheer team, Brandi Levy, a freshman at Mahanoy Area High School, expressed frustration about her position on the Junior Varsity team on Snapchat. Levy posted an image containing her and another student pointing their middle finger at the camera captioned with a statement containing multiple F words, “F-school, F-softball, F-cheer, F-everything,” to her story. After this picture was posted, it was circulated through the students. It ended up being shown to one of the cheerleading coaches. The coaches decided to punish Levy for her post by kicking her off the Junior Varsity team for the year. In the Washington Post, the coaches stated Levy had disobeyed an agreement she had made at the beginning of the year to the cheer team. One of which includes avoiding “foul language and inappropriate gestures,” and the team’s policy against, “any negative information regarding cheerleading, cheerleaders, or coaches being placed on the Internet”(Barnes). From this statement it is clear that she should have been punished for her actions, but some still ask if the school went too far. 

      Levy does not believe she should have been suspended from the team as she was not on school property when she posted this picture nor was it during school hours. Frank LeMonte, the director of Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida told the Washington Post, “This may seem like a very narrow case about a minor temper tantrum on Snapchat, but it is about speech anywhere and everywhere, by students of all ages”(Barnes). This case has been taken to the Supreme Court to come to a decision on the Free Speech of students and how to protect first amendment rights while also maintaining the rules of the school.