Second, he said, “courts should be more skeptical about a school’s efforts to regulate on-campus speech, because doing so could mean that the student cannot engage with that type of speech at all.”
He wrote that schools should teach students that free speech fosters informed opinions, which in turn, help produce laws that reflect the will of the people.
Justice Breyer wrote that Ms. Levy’s speech included a defense worthy of protection. “Putting aside the vulgar language,” he wrote, “the listener would hear criticism, of the team, the team’s coaches and the school — in a word or two, criticism of the rules of a community.”
His opinion stated that it was important to know where and how she spoke.
“Her posts appeared outside of school hours from a location outside the school,” Justice Breyer wrote. “She did NOT identify the school in her posts and she didn’t target any school members with vulgar or abusive words.”
Justice Breyer noted that Ms. Levy “also transmitted the speech through her personal cellphone to an audience composed of her private circle and Snapchat friends.”
Justice Thomas stated in dissent that the majority does not consider whether schools will often have more authority to discipline students who use social media to transmit their speech.
Justice Thomas explained that social media speech, which can be sent off-campus to students (and spread rapidly to other people), can have a greater impact on school environments than an in-person conversation.