An Oregon middle school student’s free-speech rights were violated when he was suspended for calling a teacher a “bitch” who “needs to be shot” on Facebook rant, a federal judge has ruled.
In a new law journal article, Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, makes a case for why universities shouldn’t regulate student-athletes’ social media accounts and online speech.“What makes social media novel and empowering — that it is an immediate, unfiltered way to ‘speak’ with thousands of people — is also what makes it frightening to campus regulators,” LoMonte writes.
At a public institution, the First Amendment protects students' ability to express themselves free from government sanction, and the Due Process Clause protects against the removal of public benefits in an arbitrary way or without adequate notice.
Monitoring of student-athletes’ social media accounts is widespread among university athletic departments, according to the results of a public records audit carried out by journalism students at the University of Maryland.
Citing concerns about cyberbullying, schools have begun monitoring students’ online activity. Opponents say the tracking is unnecessarily invasive and could violate students’ First Amendment rights.