Tinker v. Des Moines School District
Warren Court, 393 U.S. 503 (1969)
FACTS John Tinker was 15 years old who grew up with his sister Mary Beth Tinker, 13 years old, and brother Christopher Echardt, 16. They decided to follow their parents who were protesting the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands to their Des Moines schools during the holiday season of Christmas and New Years. Once the word was out about the protests, the principals of the Des Moines school district decided that all students wearing armbands be asked to remove them or face suspension. The children of course were then asked upon entering school, which they refused. When they did refuse, they were suspended until after New Years Day. The Tinkers filed a suit in the U.S. District Court to stop the school principals from enforcing the rule in the future. ISSUE
Does the first amendment, freedom of speech, protect the case of wearing an armband that symbolizes protest against the Vietnam War while in school? DECISION Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that the students were protect by freedom of speech. REASON If the defendants were disrupting teachers from while trying to teach and students from learning, then the decision would have been different. Although the District Court said that this type of protest was a form of expression protected under the First Amendment's freedom of speech clause, the Court sided with the school officials, saying that the rule was needed to prevent the disturbance of school activities. The Tinkers appealed their case to the U.S. Eighth Circuit of Appeals, but they lost. The Tinkers decided to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the students, declaring that the armband protest was protected by the First Amendment right of free speech. The principals lacked justification for imposing any such limits.The principals had failed to show that the forbidden conduct would substantially interfere with...
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