May 16, 2021

Ep. 43 Freedom to Cheer

This week on the Carolina Snowflakes Podcast we’re giving a hip hip HOORAY and a pompom shake to the first amendment of the United States constitution. Nothing says “America Rules” like a heavy dose of FREEDOM. We’ve got the freedom to speak, the freedom to worship, the freedom to assemble, the freedom to press and the freedom to petition. That’s a whole lot of freedom and we’re here for it.

We begin our freedom celebrations by discussing a recent Supreme Court case out of Pennsylvania in which a 14 year old high school cheerleader named Brandi Levy sent out an f-bomb riddled Snapchat message venting frustrations over her failure to make the varsity team. Her salty snap wound up getting her banned from cheering for an entire year and opened up a legal question of how much authority should public schools have in “policing” social media use by students when they’re off campus and when such use happens during non-school hours.  This case is a big deal considering SCOTUS hasn’t ruled on a school speech-related case in over 50 years. In fact, it’s so big that even the Biden administration is weighing in alongside the ACLU and several other heavy-hitting organizations. A ruling by SCOTUS is anticipated later this summer and whatever they decide will become precedent for at least the next 2 to 3 generations. Get your popcorn ready!

Though the Brandi Levy case is interesting, hers isn’t the first time public schools have been questioned for their use of seemingly excessive discipline in punishing students for bad behavior. Such was the case of a high school student who put up a sign on the building of his school asking his girlfriend to prom. He purposefully used paper and masking tape so that the sign could easily be removed and leave no lasting damage, but the school’s administrators weren’t amused. His romantic gesture got him charged with vandalism and thus banned from attending prom all together. As word of his story spread online, the internet blew up and thousands upon thousands of pissed off people called the school and demanded they let the boy go to his prom. After fielding rant-filled phone calls for a few days, administrators relented and withdrew the ban.

These stories are but 2 examples of the increasing collision occurring between protected freedoms and rule enforcement in the 21st century. Considering technology is only going to continue growing, so too must the regulations surrounding how authorities enforce their own rules. This is called progress and sometimes it’s necessary.

We close this week with an example of such modern technology colliding with antiquated laws in the telling of the story of The Pirate Bay. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Perhaps you’ve even visited. Even if you haven’t, you’ll be stunned to hear how the creators of the world’s largest piracy index have continued to skirt, dodge and thwart copyright laws for over 17 years. These guys are super smart and very clever.

So tune in to hear this and much MORE cause this week we’re celebrating our Freedom to Cheer!

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