On April 28th, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., a student free speech case that every public school district in the country needs to be watching.

Background

This situation arose with a Snapchat message posted while off campus by a then 14-year old girl on a Saturday following the announcement of the results of cheerleading tryouts.  That girl (“B.L.”) had been placed on the junior varsity team for her sophomore year of high school, despite an incoming freshman making the varsity squad. Her anger over that decision resulted in a few Snapchat messages, among the messages was a picture of her and a classmate raising their middle fingers with the caption (uncensored in the original message): “F*** school f*** softball f*** cheer f*** everything.” Although Snapchat messages are designed to disappear within 24 hours, one of the recipients took a screenshot of the message, and it made its way to B.L.’s coaches.  B.L. was then suspended from the junior varsity team for one year, and she decided to sue. B.L. claims that the suspension violated her constitutional right to free speech.


Continue Reading Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. – the student free speech case every public school administrator should know about

An application for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court was recently filed by Plaintiff Lee-Walker in, Jeena Lee-Walker v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ. et al. Plaintiff teacher filed a lawsuit against her previous employer, the New York City Department of Education, alleging that the district retaliated against her in violation of her First Amendment and due process rights.

Continue Reading Jeena Lee-Walker v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ. et al.: Book Banning and the First Amendment

US flag made of safety pins on white backgroundSafety pins, confederate flags, pantsuits, red baseball caps. Schools face challenges in balancing, on one hand, teachers’ rights to express themselves through what they wear against, on the other hand, potential school disruption in our post-election environment.

Are there times when public schools may restrict teachers from expressing themselves in the workplace through attire? Without a doubt.
Continue Reading 6 questions to ask before putting a pin in teacher expressive attire