Frank LoMonte Comments on Supreme Court Decision to Side with Cheerleader in Free Speech Case
Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is quoted in “Supreme Court Sides with High School Cheerleader in Free-Speech Dispute Over Profane Snapchat Rant” published in The Washington Post on June 23.
The article focuses on the Supreme Court’s new decision in favor of student First Amendment rights when using social media off campus.
According to LoMonte, the decision left many questions unanswered, but he called it “surprisingly good.”
“What’s really important about the decision is what the Court did not do,” said LoMonte. “The justices did not say that speech becomes punishable just because it’s about the school or just because it causes people at school to have a strong emotional reaction. And they did not declare that sports or extracurricular activities are some type of Constitution-free-zone where you waive all of your rights as a condition of participating.”
LoMonte also was quoted in “Supreme Court Sides with Cheerleader in Free Speech Case” published on c|net on June 23.
“It’s certainly a cautionary ruling that schools can’t assume they have the same power over online speech that they do on campus during school hours,” said LoMonte. “It’s clear that the overwhelming majority of justices are skeptical of handing schools a blank check of punitive authority that follows students everywhere 24/7.”
He adds, “This had the potential to be a devastatingly bad decision for students. The Supreme Court had the opportunity to say that social media is a game changer that requires rewriting the rules of the First Amendment, and they refused to do that.”