Date of Award
Senior Honors Thesis
College or School
Program or Major
Political Science and Justice Studies
Bachelor of Arts
J Kirk Trombley
The goal of this paper is to address the failing of the Supreme Court in their decision of the case Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.. While the Court defended students’ rights to free speech under the First Amendment in Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), they have since restricted that right through a number of cases. While the Court’s decision in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. protected student speech, the Court failed to provide a standard for application in cases regarding social media in schools. This paper argues that while the Court was correct in protecting B.L.’s speech, it should have gone further to create a legal standard defending student speech through social media. Through discussing recent precedent and the history of student speech in the Supreme Court as well as examining cases about social media under the First Amendment, this paper will suggest a potential standard that could have been created for Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. that would protect student speech through social media while maintaining students’ rights to safety and the schools’ interest in effectively educating their students.
 Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., 2021
 Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969
Roach, Alexis, "Tinkering With Tinker: Why the Supreme Court Must Protect Student Speech Through Social Media" (2022). Honors Theses and Capstones. 722.