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Case: Tinker V. Des Moines, Kuhlmieir V. Hazelwood

1011 words - 4 pages

About 32 years ago, in December of 1965, a group of adults and students from Des Moines, Iowa gathered to show their dislike towards American involvement in the Vietnam War. They decided to wear black armbands and fast on December 16 and 31 to express there point. When the principals of the Des Moines School System found out their plans, they decided to suspend anyone who took part in this type of protest. On December 16 - 17 three Tinker siblings and several of their friends were suspended for wearing the armbands. All of them did not return to school until after New Years Day. Acting through their parents, the Tinkers and some other students went to the Federal District Court, asking for an injunction to be issued by Iowa. This court refused the idea, forcing them to take the case to the Supreme Court. After hearing their case, the Supreme Court agreed with the Tinkers. They said that wearing black armbands was a silent form of expression and that students do not have to give up their 1st Amendment rights at school. This landmark Supreme Court case was known as Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District.From the case of Tinker v. Des Moines Ind. School Board obviously came some conflicting viewpoints about the armbands. The school board said that no one has the absolute right to freedom of expression, where the Tinkers said that only banning armbands and not other political symbols was unconstitutional. The school board said that the armbands were disruptive to the learning environment, where the Tinkers said they were not. Finally, the school board said that order in the classroom, where political controversy should be discussed, is entitled to constitutional protection. The Tinkers believed that the armbands were worn as the students views, and therefore should be constitutionally protected and respected by the school. These were all important arguments in the case.Personally, I agree with the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the 1st Amendment rights of the students in school. Why shouldn't students have the same rights as other people? If the students wore obscene clothing, ran out of classrooms, or set the school on fire in protest of the war, then yes, I could see disciplinary action being taken against them. However, the Tinkers simply wore black armbands. Because this was not disruptive or obscene, I feel the school should not have punished them.Another landmark Supreme Court decision came in 1988 in the case of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. In 1983 the principal of Hazelwood East High School removed two articles from the school newspaper. He objected to these articles because they described three students' experiences with pregnancy and divorce. He felt that topics such as these would be inappropriate for student readers. The school board voted in favor of the principal's action. Cathy Kuhlmeier and several other students sued the school district in the U.S. District Court of St. Louis. Despite claiming that their 1st...

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