Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.

The case of Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. revolves around the fallout over social media comments made by a high school student and cheerleader. That individual, known only as B.L., failed to make her high school's varsity cheerleading team and then posted a picture of herself with an expletive-filled caption to Snapchat the following weekend. School administrators saw the post and suspended B.L. from the junior varsity team for a year. B.L. sued her school in federal court, with the plaintiff claiming her suspension from the JV team had not only violated her First Amendment rights but that the rules of the school and team were overbroad, viewpoint-discriminatory, and unconstitutionally vague.

In a surprise move, the district court ruled in B.L.'s favor, noting that the school violated B.L.’s First Amendment rights by punishing her for off-campus speech. The school appealed, but the appeals court held the original judgment, making it clear that similar posts made to social media while off-campus are protected by the First Amendment. Content Exchange Content Exchange