Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District 393 U.S. 503
"It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." This was the main argument from Justice Abe Fortas that came into play at the Tinker v. Des Moines School District Case of 1969. The case involved a small group of students who silently dissented against the government’s policy during the ongoing Vietnam War by wearing black armbands to school. In response by the school administration, each of those students was suspended from the public schools they attended in Des Moines, Iowa. This case is a prime example of the Constitutionally protected symbolic speech we have rights to, and especially to what extent it is allowed in public schools.
In December of 1965, John Tinker, his sister Mary-Beth, and Christopher Eckhardt, who all attended public school in Des Moines, wanted to publicize their anti-war position by wearing black armbands to school to support a truce until the holidays were over. The school district learned of their plans and planned to suspend anyone who refused to remove their armband. Although the students were aware of the policy the administration created, they arrived to school wearing the black armbands days later, and were promptly sent home and suspended. They did not return to school until after the holidays, which was when their planned protest expired. The three teenagers involved in the protests filed a Civil Rights lawsuit in a federal court through their fathers. They issued the court an injunction, or an authoritative warning, that would bar the school system from disciplining the students as they did by suspending them. The district court sided with the school board, however, concluding that “the schools had acted reasonably to prevent a disturbance of school discipline, and the students brought their cases over to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court, in a...
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