Press Release

Press Teleconference: Leading Education Groups Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Review Controversial Student Speech Case

NSBA, joined by other leading education groups, is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to accept Easton Area Sch. Dist. v. B.H for review and to reverse the appellate court’s decision as contrary to well-established First Amendment principles. 

The National School Boards Association (NSBA); AASA, the School Superintendents Association; and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), joined by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), are filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Easton Area Sch. Dist. V. B.h. on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.

This pivotal filing centers on school district policy in the case of two female middle school students at a Pennsylvania middle school required by school officials to remove bracelets that displayed the message “I [HEART] Boobies KEEP A BREAST.”

We invite reporters to join us to discuss NSBA’s “friend of the court” brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appellate court’s decision in Easton Area Sch. Dist. v. B.H. The brief contests the ruling as contrary to well-established Supreme Court precedent that recognizes the authority of school officials to regulate student speech during the school day if such speech disrupts the school environment or interferes with the educational mission of schools.

This important case throws into disarray longstanding Supreme Court precedent on the authority of school officials to regulate student speech during the school day that interferes with the school environment or the rights of others. At issue is the novel standard the appellate court introduced that conflates language from two separate Supreme Court cases in a way that leaves school officials subject to litigation and restricts their ability to maintain harassment-free school environments.

Reporters are invited to explore the rationale for the brief. ‘Starter’ questions include:

  • On what basis is the brief taking the position that school district action did not violate the students’ First Amendment free speech rights?
  • If lewd speech plausibly interpreted as political or social commentary is not regulated during the school day, what are the potential unintended consequences?
  • Is the decision itself inherently problematic? Does the court of appeals’ requirement that school officials differentiate “plainly lewd” from “ambiguously lewd” speech make sense in the school environment, or does it just create legal uncertainty?
  • What is the legal standard that the brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court to consider?

What: Media teleconference urging the U.S. Supreme Court to accept Easton Area Sch. Dist. v. B.H for review and to reverse the appellate court’s decision as contrary to well-established First Amendment principles.

Who: Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA); Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., General Counsel of the National School Boards Association (NSBA)

Date/Time: Monday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. EST

RSVP: To request call-in information and a copy of the brief, please RSVP by 1 p.m. EST by Mon., Jan 6. to com3@nsba.org. NSBA will also be able to provide background information after the event on request.

This teleconference is only open to media and bloggers.

###

Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a not-for-profit organization representing state associations of school boards and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Working with and through our state associations, NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. www.nsba.org


This is a sponsored message and does not necessarily represent the views of the Education Writers Association, its board of directors, or its members. Want to see your release on the EWA site? Promote it with EWA.