Tinker vs. Des Moines

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Does the banning of symbolic armbands in public schools violate freedom of speech as stated in the First Amendment? This argument made its way up to the Supreme Court on November 12th, 1968. The case was called Tinker v. Des Moines. Three students wore black armbands around their arm to support peace, because it was during the Vietnam War. The students involved were John Tinker, 15, Mary Beth Tinker, 13, and Christopher Eckhart, 16. Along with them were their parents who also wore the armbands. They were going to wear it around the Christmas holiday, and fast on certain days. The school heard of this, and decided to make sure the students did not wear these, because it may provoke a disturbance in the school. The students were asked to remove their armbands, or face suspension. Upon refusing, they were suspended. They could return when they came to school without the armband on. The planned period for wearing the armband was until New Year’s Day. Therefore, they could return to school after January 1st. The Tinker’s sent this case to the U.S. District Court in order to prevent the schools from doing this in the future. The Court agreed with them that this act was protected under the freedom of speech clause in the First Amendment. Although they agreed with the Tinkers, the Court took the school’s side on the case. They said that the form of suspension was necessary to prevent the disturbance of school activities. Facing the verdict, they appealed their case to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. There was a tie vote in the Court of Appeals. This allowed the District Court’s ruling. Disappointed, the Tinker’s appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided to hear this case because they have made attempts in the past to define the freedom of speech limitations. They wanted to hear the constitutionality of Des Moines’ anti-armband

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