Tinker v. Des Moines

By: Joyis Mestre

What happened?

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/studentspeech.htmJohn and Mary Tinker were apart of a group against American involvement in Vietnam War. These children protested silently by wearing black armbands, but due to the school's concern, teachers and staff informed the students of a new policy stating that "any student who refuses to take off his or her armband would be suspended until agreeing to return to school without their armbands. About 2 days later, the Tinker children and a friend to wear the armbands to school. They were asked to remove the garments. They refused to and were suspended until they return to school with out their armbands. They returned after January 1, 1966, the date scheduled for the end of the protest. But their fathers soon filed filed suit in the U.S. District Court. They asked for a small amount of money. They took the court to the case and although the District Court recognized the children's right of freedom of speech, the court claimed the school's officials' "actions were reasonable in light of potential disruptions from the students' protest. The Tinker's later took their case to the Supreme Court. The case later came down to a very debatable question of " Does the First Amendment rights of free speech extend to symbolic speech as well?" The case later went onto the Tinker's winning.

Majority Opinion v. Minority Opinion

  • Majority Opinion-"First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students."
  • Minority Opinion-"....took the student's minds off their classwork and diverted them to to thoughts about highly emotional subject of the Vietnam war...."