Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.
Press Release

Supreme Court strikes right balance in student free speech case

Students, just like educators, have a right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment
Published: 06/23/2021

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today issued an 8-1 opinion in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., a case that questioned whether schools can legally punish students for speech on their social media accounts, even outside of school hours and away from school campuses. The 3-milllion member National Education Association issued a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that although the students in our public schools enjoy the right to speak and advocate for themselves — particularly when that expression is off campus and online — the ruling could impair the ability of schools and educators to protect students from harassment and bullying.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle

“We all want our students — Black and white, Native and newcomer, Hispanic and Asian alike — to attend safe public schools that are free of harassment and bullying. We also believe that students, just like educators, have a right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court’s decision in Mahanoy strikes the right balance. The court recognized that ‘America’s public schools are the nurseries of democracy.’ And we model that democracy by ensuring that students have a right to speak in an environment that is free of bullying and harassment.”

Follow on twitter at @NEAmedia and @BeckyPringle 

# # # 

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at 


National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.