Published on: Friday, February 24, 2023

Is a South Carolina law that prohibits conducting oneself "in a disorderly or boisterous manner" unconstitutionally vague as applied to school children? Given that the state refers hundreds of them for prosecution each year, it sure seems to matter. Fourth Circuit (over a dissent): "Based solely on the dictionary definitions of the statutory terms … it is hard to escape the conclusion that any person passing a schoolyard during recess is likely witnessing a large-scale crime scene." And since the state doesn't think that all that childish disorder is criminal, there's no way to tell what actually is. The state is not allowed to use the Disturbing School statute or the Disorderly Conduct statute to arrest, prosecute, and criminalize school-based behavior. Injunction affirmed.

The case is Carolina Youth Action Project v. Wilson,  No. 21-2166 (4th Cir. Feb. 22, 2023).