The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has issued new, and competing student free speech decisions. The cases names are becoming familiar to school districts across the region: Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District. Both cases address the ability of a school district to discipline students for out-of-school speech, namely derogatory MySpace profiles of school administrators. While the cases were factually similar, the two panels reached different results. As such, our Third Circuit (which covers Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware) has yet to provide ironclad guidance for school districts concerning out-of-school Internet speech. School districts should continue to remember that this type of case is very fact specific and the issues need to be evaluated carefully. For assistance with disciplinary issues relating to out-of-school or Internet speech, please contact our Municipal Group.
Leave a Reply