The justices are looking at a First Amendment case concerning the authority of public school officials to discipline students for what they say outside of school.
Then-junior varsity cheerleader Brandi Levy, who didn't make the varsity squad lashed out on social media while she was off campus, writing, "f--k school f--k softball f--k cheer f--k everything." The words were accompanied by a picture of her giving a middle-digit salute.
After the outburst, the girl was suspended from the squad as having violated team and school rules. Lawyers for the girl sued alleging the school had violated her freedom of speech. The girl won in the lower courts that held that school could not remove her for off campus speech. According to the court of appeals, she did not "waive her First Amendment rights as a condition of joining the team."
Back in 1969, the Supreme Court held that public school officials could regulate speech that would "materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school." But that decision concerned speech at school.
"Empowering public school officials to censor what students say when they are outside of school would be an epic restriction of young people's freedom of expression," said Witold Walczak of the ACLU, defending the student.
The Biden administration has weighed in in favor of the school arguing that there is some speech, that "intentionally targets specific school functions" that warrant discipline even if it occurs off campus.