I recently made a tweet towards the administrative staff at my high school that some people may consider distasteful or offensive. A couple people messaged me about the tweet out of concern that I might get into trouble with administration for my tweet, but I am not sure if this is true. I am no expert on law, but I would argue that I am using my freedom of speech. Am I in any danger from my school administrators or any lawful danger by keeping this tweet up?

  • Which country/jurisdiction are you in, can you please edit your question to tag it? You may run afoul of defamation/libel laws.
    – jimsug
    Oct 6, 2016 at 6:51
  • 2
    Freedom of speech means that the government generally can't limit your speech, but as noted elsewhere, that freedom is not absolute. Furthermore, a school isn't necessarily the government. If your school is a private or parochial school, it can sanction you for speech that a government school might have to allow.
    – phoog
    Oct 6, 2016 at 14:39
  • If this is a private school in the US, you could be in trouble, but not legal trouble. I suggest you narrow down the "in danger". You are always in danger of being thought poorly of, so it matters what kind of danger you are asking about.
    – user6726
    Oct 6, 2016 at 22:56
  • 1
    There are plenty of civil and criminal laws you can violate with speech. For starters, read the freedom-of-speech tag info.
    – feetwet
    Oct 7, 2016 at 1:43

2 Answers 2


There is no country in the world that has absolute freedom of speech. There are many that have extreme limits on it.

The country with the greatest freedom is probably the United States of America but even there there are limits.

For example, it is illegal to defame someone. That is, make a factual statement about a person or organization that is not true and that could damage their reputation.

For your case, as a student of the school you are subject to the rules of the school. If your statement breaks those rules you can be sanctioned. If the school is public, it would generally be as restricted as the government is in limiting free speech but, as stated above, such restrictions depend on where you are.

  • 1
    If the school is a government school, though, as most are in the US, its rules can be challenged on constitutional grounds.
    – phoog
    Oct 6, 2016 at 14:41

If you had said it to their faces in the hallway, would you have gotten in trouble? If so, then the answer is yes, you can get in trouble with your school. Probably not with the law, unless you made some credible threat of imminent violence.

  • That is not true. For example, public schools can punish merely offensive speech (as insubordination or improper conduct) in school but not merely offensive speech outside of school. Oct 7, 2016 at 22:55
  • op is not about "merely offensive speech outside of school" but "tweet towards the administrative staff at my high school"
    – JJBee
    Oct 10, 2016 at 21:17
  • Right. So? It is still the case that they can punish you for such speech if it's merely offensive if it's in school but need more if it's out of school. Oct 11, 2016 at 1:21
  • they dont need more. even in college you can be punished for social media posts. see tatro v uom.
    – JJBee
    Oct 11, 2016 at 1:37
  • That case supports my claim. If all they need was that the speech was offensive, it would have been a very simple case. They would have said the speech was offensive and they would have own. But that's not what happened. They argued that they were a professional school and the speech violated established professional norms and standards for conduct, an argument that would not apply to a normal high school situation. They do need more than merely that the speech was offensive. Oct 11, 2016 at 5:40

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