When can public schools regulate students’ off-campus speech?

Laura Raphael and David Berney published an article in the Legal Intelligencer exploring the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Mahanoy v. B.L., 594 U.S. ___ (2021). The Court in Mahanoy balanced students’ First Amendments rights and schools’ need to maintain order in their classrooms and held that a “substantial disruption” to school activities standard still applies, with less deference to schools regulating off-campus speech relative to speech on campus. The article explains the Court’s reasons for scrutinizing regulations of off-campus speech: “a school’s in loco parentis standing is not likely to apply; student speech would be regulated all 24 hours of the day if schools regulated both on-campus and off-campus speech, and ‘public schools are the nurseries of democracy’ and thus schools themselves have an interest in prompting off-campus speech.”

The full article is available here.

The Legal Intelligencer is Pennsylvania’s premier publication for legal news. Attorneys at Berney & Sang publish regularly in the Intelligencer about education and the law.

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