Justices hear First Amendment clash over cheerleader’s Snapchat

The Supreme Court on Wednesday explored the extent of protections for student speech that occurs off campus, in a case that could break new First Amendment ground in the social media age.

Hearing arguments by phone, the court grappled with a dispute pitting a teen cheerleader against her Pennsylvania high school district, which imposed a yearlong suspension from the squad after she made a profane Snapchat post off campus and outside of school hours.

The justices struggled to apply decades-old precedents on the regulation of student speech amid a social media era that has increasingly blurred the line between campus life and private expression.

“That sharp line I think you’re trying to draw between on campus and off campus, how does that fit with modern technology?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked an attorney representing the cheerleader. “I mean, it’s a text or a snap that you send from the park, and it’s read in the cafeteria. Is that off campus, or on campus?”