Saturday, May 28, 2022


High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.


Education Secretary Cardona calls for action after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to U.S. and its allies.


High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

Court Limits Reach of School Discipline


Monday, October 9, 2017   

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Schools can't punish students for swearing when they're off campus - that's the message of a federal court to a Pennsylvania high school.

The student, who is a minor, is only referred to by her initials, B.L. She was dropped from her school's junior varsity cheerleading squad for using a profanity in a social media post that she sent to her friends on a weekend.

An evidentiary hearing was held on Oct. 2 and, three days later, the court issued a preliminary ruling. According to Molly Tack-Hooper, an attorney with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the opinion of the court was crystal clear.

"There is no question that in Pennsylvania, schools just don't have the power to punish kids because they use the 'F-word' on social media if they do it on their own time,” Tack-Hooper said.

School officials had called the social media post "negative," "disrespectful" and "demeaning." The court reinstated the student to the cheerleading squad until a final decision is issued.

In 2011, two very similar cases made it all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Tack-Hooper said that court also ruled that schools can't discipline students for posts to social media on their own time when the posts don't cause "substantial material disruption to school activities."

"Which is a pretty high standard,” she said. "So our case involving B.L., the cheerleader, really was decided by those earlier Third Circuit cases."

Tack-Hooper pointed out that all of these cases are not simply about posting on social media. They are, at their core, a defense of students' First Amendment rights.

"If the school had the power to punish our client for just blowing off steam, then that would mean that schools really have a lot of power to restrict what students say on their own time, which would be a very scary prospect,” she said.

The case may not be over yet. The school could keep fighting through a trial or appeal the decision to a higher court.

get more stories like this via email

Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …

Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …


This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …

There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …


Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021