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Mother, Daughter Sue Scappoose School District Over Social Media Policy

Scappoose school officials are facing a federal lawsuit from a mother and daughter over limits on use of social media. 

The student plaintiff in the suit is high schooler, Marissa Harper. She wanted to join the Scappoose dance team, but she refused to sign a new, required “sportsmanship” policy first.

The policy prohibits negative comments toward teammates, opponents, or school officials, in any electronic communication. That includes Twitter, Facebook, emails, and text messages.

Pete Springer/OPB

The Harpers’ attorney, Darin Sands, says the Scappoose policy goes beyond what schools can require.

“What makes this policy uniquely overbroad,” Sands contends, “is that it - in many ways, it tries to - and purports to - reach into every aspect of a student and parent’s private life, to regulate their speech at home, on social media, between each other, without getting pre-approval from the dance team coaches.”

Sands says the district has rebuffed efforts to discuss possible limits to the policy. He says Supreme Court precedent suggests the policy violates constitutional protections for freedom of speech.

The Scappoose superintendent didn’t respond to OPB’s request for comment. 

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