In early test of Mahanoy, FIRE files amicus brief defending high-schooler’s off-campus Snapchat joke

Jeff Zeman
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Excerpt: In June, the Supreme Court explained in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. that courts should be skeptical when public grade schools attempt to regulate off-campus speech, lest school administrators control “all the speech a student utters during the full 24-hour day.”

The Court’s ruling has direct implications for another pending case involving a Colorado high school student who was expelled for an off-campus, after-hours Snapchat post. Before Mahanoy was decided, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed the student’s claims that his First Amendment and due process rights had been violated, granting the school broad power to regulate student speech regardless of where or when it is uttered. On Sept. 16, FIRE — joined by the Cato Institute — filed a brief of amici curiae in the case of C1.G v. Siegfried, in support of the student’s appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.