What if you were suspended from school because of something you were wearing? Not only was the clothing or item appropriate, it was something you were fighting for or something you believe is right. Is this fair or okay for this to happen? There is a specific incident that this situation happened to a few teenagers in Des Moines, Iowa in December of 1965. A group of students wanting to wear black armbands throughout the holiday season was in for a wake up call. (FORTAS) These plans and or idea were quickly shot down by the high school principals. The principals caught wind of the teen’s plan, so there was a meeting a few days beforehand. The talk of the meeting was to ensure the teens that if they were to wear the black armbands a few days from then, they would be asked to remove the bands, if they refused, suspension would be given.(KELLY) Is this a violation of the First Amendment?
The first amendment states some of the freedoms we have. These are freedom of religion and freedom of expression. These include the right to free speech, press, assembly, and to petition the government. The reason for wanting to wear the black armbands was to show their anti-war belief in the Vietnam War. Rebelling against the authority figures’ ruling, three students wore the armbands and got suspended. The students’ names are John F. Tinker, who was 15 years old at the time, Christopher Eckhardt, 16 years old, and 13 year old Mary Beth Tinker (John’s younger sister). Getting suspended, the students did not return until after New Year’s Day (FORTAS). “This case was significant because the justices stated, “students do not abandon their civil rights at the school house door....” The school is not allowed to limit a student or teachers first amendment...
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... Community School District." Education for Freedom Lesson 8 - Case Summary: Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. The Freedom Forum., 5 June 1990. Web. 11 Apr. 2014
Calagna, Codi. "Codi Calagna's E-Journal." Codi Calagna's E-Journal: Pedagogical Blogging. Codi Calagna, 28 Nov. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
Fortas, Justice. "Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969)." Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969). Independent Community School District, 5 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
Gold, Susan D. Two Students Go to Court. Tinker V. Des Moines: Free Speech for Students. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 29-34. Print.
Kelly, Martin. "Tinker v. Des Moines." About.com American History. American History, 7 Apr. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
Wheeler, David R. "Do Students Still Have Free Speech in School?" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 07 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
Justice Hugo Black dissented and feared that the Court’s ruling would cause more revolutionary actions from students. However, Justice Fortas addressed this potential outcome. He says, “Certainly where there is no finding and no showing that engaging in the forbidden conduct would "materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school," the prohibition cannot be sustained.Burnside v. Byars, supra at 749.” The school’s ban of the armbands could not be upheld because the expression had not caused any harm. If the students underwent another expression, the school would still have the power to make a decision. If their actions were disruptive, the school would still have the power to limit these actions. The students’ rights are still protected, and the school still has the authority to operate the
We, all, have the opportunity to voice our opinion on subjects that matter to us. The First Amendment grants us freedom of speech and expression. However, this was not provided to all students in 1968. During this time, there were three students in Des Moines, Iowa, who wore black armbands to school. These armbands were a symbol of protest against the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. After the Des Moines School District heard about this plan, they instituted a policy banning the wearing of armbands, leading to the suspension of students. A lawsuit has been filed against the Des Moines School District, stating how this principal goes against the students’ First Amendment rights. Thus, in the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District case, Justice Abe Fortes determined the policy to ban armbands is against the students’ First Amendment rights. Yet, Justice Hugo Black dissented with this decision, determining the principal is permissible under the First Amendment.
Mary Beth Tinker was only thirteen years old in December of 1964 when she and four other students were suspended from school because they wore black armbands. The black armbands were a sign of protest against the Vietnam War. The school suspended the students and told them that they could not return to school until they agreed to take off the armbands. The students did not return to school until after the school’s Christmas break, and they wore black the rest of the year, as a sign of protest. The Tinker family, along with other supporters, did not think that the suspension was constitutional and sued the Des Moines Independent Community School District. The Supreme Court’s majority decision was a 7-2 vote that the suspension was unconstitutional (Tinker V. Des Moines).
Tedford, Thomas L., and Dale A. Herbeck. Freedom of Speech in the United States. State College, PA: Strata Publishing, Inc., 2009. Tinker V. Des Moines Independent Community School District. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. .
Student court cases against schools, or vice versa, are not as uncommon as they may seem. Tinker v. Des Moines was a court case that ended in 1969 regarding students protesting the Vietnam War. The three students involved in the trial wore black armbands to school, which was prohibited, and were suspended. Since the students felt that their First Amendment right was abused by the school therefore they took the issue to a local court, then eventually the Supreme Court. The case has left a mark on First Amendment rights for students since then. The Tinker v. Des Moines court case impacted the United States by questioning the First Amendment in public schools, spreading awareness of student rights, and by challenging future court cases using
Herbeck, Tedford (2007). Boston College: Freedom of Speech in the United States (fifth edition) Zacchini vs. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Company 433 U.S. 562 Retrieved on March 2, 2008 from http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/zacchini.html
Censorship even extends to school dress codes. A school dress code is a set of rules about what clothing may or may not be worn in schools. As previously mentioned, a set of criteria are used to determine whether or not student expression should be censored in schools. For censorship involving dress codes, there are two: the “Tinker disruption standard” and the “forum issue,” which determine if student expression disrupts the school day and by who it is regulated, respectively (Emert). One case involving censorship of the school dress code was of a boy who violated his school’s dress code (Nguyen). Zachary Guiles, a thirteen year old boy, had to cover up his shirt denigrating former President George W. Bush, which violated his First Amendment rights (Nguyen). The shirt showed President Bush’s head on a chicken with derogatory names. It had images of oil rigs and lines of cocaine (Nguyen). A student, who had opposite views as Guiles, notified the administration of the shirt (Nguyen). Guiles was sent home on May 13, 2004, when he didn’t cover up the shirt after being asked to. The next day, Guiles’ wore the shirt, which was covered with tape and the word ‘censored’ was written on the tape (Nguyen). The school which Guiles attended, Williamstown Middle High School in Vermont, said that the shirt violated the dress code. Guiles’ parents felt that their son’s “rights to engage in political speech” were violated, and they sued the school (Nguyen). Guiles did not win the lawsuit in December 2004, when the US District Court for Vermont ruled in favor of the school, saying the images were “’plainly offensive and inappropriate’” (Nguyen). Guiles appealed, and the Second Circuit court ruled that the images were not offensive an...
Name & citation of case: Urban v. Jefferson County School District R-1, 870 F. Supp. 1558 (D. CO 1994)
Students should be able to express themselves at school and anywhere else they decide. I, Mary Beth Tinker, wanted to wear a black armband on my arm and fast during the holidays. I wanted to demonstrate my First Amendment rights and my views on the Vietnam War. It was a simple black armband that caused a uproar and change for the children. All children have the right to express Freedom of speech. Walking into a school building does not stop your rights as a citizen. This is where I began my case. Other students and I sued the school district. We believed we were doing nothing to harm other students or cause a huge disruption. Everyone deserves to express their rights. My local district court discharged the case and said that our school district’s