This Note proposes a way to approach online student speech in three different contexts: cyberbullying, online threats, and other kinds of incendiary speech. Each approach is informed by a combination of lower court precedent, historical trends, and Supreme Court dicta to piece together when exceptions to online student speech protection may apply. Each analysis provides an explanation of how Tinker can and should be used to justify school discretion over particular kinds of online speech. Part I provides the history behind how the First Amendment has been used to protect public school student speech and discusses the unique issues the internet creates for schools. Part II starts by exploring how previous Circuit Court approaches no longer adequately line up with the court’s approach in Mahanoy. Part II will then distinguish between three different scenarios of potentially harmful online student speech: cyberbullying directed at students, online threats directed at teachers, students, and schools, and other forms of incendiary online speech.
Put Mahanoy Where Your Mouth Is: A Closer Look at When Schools Can Regulate Online Student Speech,
Notre Dame L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndlr/vol98/iss2/8