The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

First Amendment Protections in K-12 Schools Not "Restricted to Only Core Political Speech"


So holds the First Circuit in yesterday's decision in Norris v. Cape Elizabeth School Dist., and I think that's exactly the right reading of the Supreme Court precedents (and consistent with other circuits' decisions).

The particular speech in that case was an anonymous "sticky note on a mirror in a Cape Elizabeth High School girls' bathroom that stated 'THERE'S A RAPIST IN OUR SCHOOL AND YOU KNOW WHO IT IS.'" One might argue that this is core political speech, because it's an implicit accusation that the school isn't doing anything about this, but the court's decision makes it unnecessary to draw the political/nonpolitical line. "Because we conclude that Tinker is not limited to political speech, we need not decide if A.M.'s sticky note, understood in the context of her prior activities related to sexual assault activism including her statements to the Cape Elizabeth H.S. school board, was objectively viewed as political."