B.L. v. Mahanoy Area School District (U.S. Supreme Court, 2021)

Civil Liberties
Discrimination

U.S. Supreme Court ,

Civil Liberties
Discrimination

At issue in this case is the extent to which K-12 schools can regulate student speech that occurs off-campus. ADL joined a brief prepared by the National Women’s Law Center, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, urging the Court to ensure that when it comes to off-campus speech, schools can regulate student bullying, harassment, or threats, but not speech that is merely perceived to substantially disrupt school activities. The brief contends that this balance is needed because students belonging to one or more historically marginalized groups — including girls and women, LGBTQ+ students, students of color, and students with disabilities — are especially vulnerable to bullying, harassment, and threats from their peers, but also disproportionately subjected to unwarranted school discipline for speech that school administrators deem “defiant” or “disrespectful.” This standard would ensure that all students can be safe and access equal educational opportunities without victimization by other students, and also not face disparate discipline for their own speech.