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U.S. Supreme Court ponders cheerleader's profanity in free speech flap

A Pennsylvania teenager whose profanity-laced outburst on social media got her banished from her high school's cheerleading squad is at the center of a major U.S. Supreme Court case testing the limits of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.

Following the student’s outburst, which was posted on a Saturday from a convenience store, coaches ousted her from the squad for a year. Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the student and her parents sued the district seeking reinstatement to the squad and a judgment that her First Amendment rights had been violated.

A judge ordered the student’s reinstatement, finding that her actions had not been disruptive enough to warrant the punishment. Under a 1969 Supreme Court precedent, public schools may punish student speech that would "substantially disrupt" the school community. The student's case will determine whether this authority extends beyond the schoolhouse gates.

The Supreme Court is due to rule by the end of June. Read more here.

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