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Can a school punish a student for online speech off campus?

Can a school punish a student for online speech off campus?

A U.S. school district wants the Supreme Court to overturn a landmark free speech case and let it punish a student for criticizing her school online. Students protest for the right to free speech outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, 19 March 2007. (AP...

Lucy Jaffee of La Jolla Country Day School tackled a complicated topic — a court case involving a student’s freedom of speech and social media — by interviewing two experts, including the foremost authority on the U.S. First Amendment, Floyd Abrams. The lesson: If you put effort into understanding an issue, experts will be glad to speak to you. Students should contact experts because they will offer unique insights and help answer the question, “What next?”

The case Jaffee’s article focuses on lends itself to classroom discussion because it engages a matter of great interest to students. While students may instinctively side with the young woman whose Snapchat post triggered the controversy, there may be other off-campus outbursts on social media — Holocaust denial, racist language — that they might like to see sanctioned. Like so much in life, First Amendment issues often lie in the gray zone.

Tag: free speech