Teen Wins in Court, Loses to Cancel Culture

Snapchat rant against school upheld in court as free speech


Hana Rose North

Student holds phone while she receives texts about being canceled.

By Emily Strommen , Social Media Editor

Unfortunately, no matter how many times we’re told not to go on a ranting spree on social media, we still do it.

Although as humans we should be able to express our frustrations when things get hard, it’s probably best to rant to your family pet, not a cyber world of possible tattletales. 

It was because of social media ranting that a ninth-grade student in Pennsylvania who was having a bad day ended up winning a victory for free speech.

She turned to Snapchat to release some anger when she failed to make the varsity cheerleading squad. She sent a message to about 250 friends. 

The message included an image of the student and a friend with their middle fingers raised, along with a caption explaining their dissatisfaction with “school,” “softball,” “cheer” and “everything.”

Someone screenshotted the snap and showed it to her mother, one of the cheer coaches. The school then suspended the student, saying it was necessary in order to “prevent chaos” and maintain a “team-like atmosphere.”

In response, the student sued the school district and won in the United States Court of Appeals. The court said the First Amendment does not allow public school districts to punish students for free speech outside of school grounds.   

Teens today get caught doing the unthinkable through many social media apps. Was this student on her way to being “canceled?” Canceling is a word used to dismiss/reject something or someone. Cancel Culture as it currently exists, doesn’t give people a chance to learn from their mistakes or apologize.  

J.K Rowling and Ellen DeGeneres have joined a long list of celebrities who have fallen to cancel culture.  The social-media trend has gained momentum under the trendy new name “placing celebrities,” putting companies and media alike under a microscope of political correctness. 

Canceling is a way to take away someone’s power and call out the individual for being problematic in a situation. So what’s canceling like for teenagers? For some the phrase is taken as a joke, but it can also be a way to bring up the past as a way to bully teens, which can lead to them being canceled by their classmates.  

This often happens online and goes unrecognized by the school. Teenagers should be encouraged to stand up to bullies or people who may say uneducated things, and instead use facts and positive messages, not shaming. We all deserve another chance, especially when we are teenagers and learning how to behave in this world. 

The would-be cheerleader didn’t deserve to be canceled by her classmates. She had a right to express her feelings, and I’m glad that it was validated in federal court. 

It’s time for cancel culture to be canceled.