Supreme Court rules 8-1 that school violated cussin' cheerleader's first amendment rights

Originally published at: Supreme Court rules 8-1 that school violated cussin' cheerleader's first amendment rights | Boing Boing


Clarence Thomas believes the government can do anything it wants to you except for take your guns.


with weirdo justice Clarence Thomas dissenting

I didn’t have to read beyond the headline to know it was him.


It always amazes me when these small school districts or local municipalities are willing to dedicate so much of their limited financial resources to fighting these petty, futile battles in court. Who gets to make that call, and who approves the budget line item for the substantial attorney fees?


Every time there’s a student civil rights case, Thomas takes time out of his day to let everyone know he thinks students don’t have civil rights in school (or outside school, apparently) and Tinker v. Des Moines should be overruled.


Presumably, the attorney who just so happens to be on the school board and is also working the case? :thinking:


I have never understood how schools have any standing to regulate off-campus speech or conduct of any kind. Is it really pure politics, or is there actually some real legal reasoning underlying it that I should know about?


Pride, pure pride. Rather than accept that they were wrong and move on, the teacher, principal, and district superintendent would rather fight a ruinous fight to save face (and of course, cling to a tiny shred of power over another human being, especially a girl).

There’s a reason Pride is one of the seven deadly sins.




And, IIRC, seen as the worst of them all by many.


That one is a little easier; it pertains to acting in an official capacity as opposed to a private capacity. So, if she were cheering at an event and said “F Ridgemont High!”, Ridgemont High could discipline her because she was officially representing the school at the time. In this case, however, she wasn’t engaged in a school sponsored/sanctioned activity when she posted “F Ridgemont, F cheer, F softball!”, and therefore wasn’t representing the school in an official capacity.

Some positions, such as class president, or principal, have a higher expectation of representation – in other words they are reasonably considered to be representing the school at all times, and could have faced discipline for such activities in what would otherwise be considered a private capacity. In this case, the supreme court (perhaps indirectly) determined that B.L. could not be reasonably considered to be representing the school at all time, and therefore her actions as a private citizen were not subject to school discipline.

I’m actually surprised that Thomas was the only dissenter. Hopefully we won’t see more cases like this, as 8-1 is a pretty solid statement by the Supreme Court that this is a settled matter.



I heard 8-1 and absolutely knew who it was without reading it.


As it obviously should. If instead of an innocuous “fuck cheer” the post said, “Debbie was put in as head of the squad through an unfair process and on January 6 you all should gather at cheer practice and take back cheer captaincy for it’s rightful owner,” leading to an actual mob laying siege to the locker rooms then you might be able to see how that speech is worth kicking someone of cheer for.

Honestly if someone is getting kicked out of a school club because of their sex, the colour of their skin, their religion or their political views, I can understand how it’s a civil rights case. If someone is getting kicked out for mouthing off, the idea that civil rights come into it seems like a case of the American crazies.


Thinking back to my high school years, I recall people getting suspended or expelled for fights which happened off school grounds. Supposedly the logic was that the conflict started on school grounds, but it’s clear that they wanted to penalize any kind of fighting, and the kids being penalized couldn’t afford legal representation to fight it.


I was surprised too, but it turns out the school district only paid $15k, that’s their deductible for Errors and Omissions Insurance (Mahanoy Area Cost For Levy Case: $15,000 – InsuranceNewsNet). I’m not clear why the Insurance provider would chase this so hard.


That does help explain it, but I have to imagine that their insurance premium might go up as a result of all this.


Glad this died the death it deserved. Who the F do they think they are?

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Would have been nicer if they’d made a more wide-ranging bright-line decision, but I’m happy to hear it!

You can say Fuck. It’s ok.
Clarence won’t LIKE it, but he can’t stop you.