School Disciplinary Proceedings For Social Media Use Outside Of School

Social media has changed the fabric of society in many ways, including for our children. It has also shaped the legal landscape with regard to First Amendment free speech rights.

Schools have the right to set rules restricting cellphone and social media use during the school day or at school-supervised events. But what about social media use outside of school? Schools in Florida are increasingly taking disciplinary action against students for their social media usage outside of school hours – and sometimes, that action is questionable.

Was Your Student Disciplined For Off-Campus Social Media Use?

If your student’s education is in jeopardy because of social media use outside of school hours, it’s important to get a lawyer on your side. Our education attorneys at Bilello & Soowal, PLLC, can protect your student and their future. We are highly experienced in all aspects of defending students in school disciplinary proceedings. With offices Deerfield Beach and Orlando, we are very familiar with the public and private schools – both K-12 and higher education – in these regions.

Free Speech Rights And Social Media Use In Public Schools

Public schools are an arm of the government. Accordingly, they must respect the free speech rights of students, teachers and staff.

Free speech doesn’t protect things like:

  • Threats or “fighting words”
  • Fraudulent and defamatory content
  • Racist, lewd or offensive content

Anti-bullying laws give Florida schools the ability to discipline students for cyberbullying that impacts other students or the school. However, in many cases, schools are disciplinary students for social media usage outside the school setting. If the social media content doesn’t relate to school, it’s likely protected by free speech rights.

The Rules Are Different For Private Schools

Whether the school is public or private makes a difference. Because private schools aren’t government actors, they aren’t subject to prohibitions on limiting free speech. Students and parents voluntarily choose to agree to whatever rules and policy the private school establishes. Often, those rules contain codes of conduct that address social media use.

Still, it may be worth challenging the disciplinary action – particularly when your student is facing suspension, expulsion or other serious consequences.

We Can Protect Your Student’s Rights Regarding Social Media Use

Our lawyers are committed to protecting students’ educational rights as well as their right to self-expression, including through social media. If your student is facing disciplinary for off-campus social media use, you can turn to us for honest and knowledgeable guidance. Call 866-335-1513, or send us an email to schedule a free consultation.