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Freedom Of Religion And Freedom Of Expression: Tinker V. Des Moines

1865 words - 7 pages

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 rights. Student and teachers are now able to freely express their first amendment rights as long as it does not cause a disturbance to the classroom or school. If students were shouting and protesting in classrooms, the school would be able to step in because it causes other students to be distracted from their schoolwork.” (CALAGNA)
Has freedom of speech changed since then? Some schools nowadays punish kids for online social media comments. (WHEELER) For example, if a student posts something on Facebook, and another kid comments on that status with a rude remark, the kid who posted it could take that to the principal’s office and the kid who commented on it could get in trouble. Some could say it was cyber-bullying, some could say it was just a witty/rude remark, not meant to be taken seriously. Is this a violation of free speech/expression? Another reason school authority figures have a lot of power over whether or not a student gets in trouble for what they say, posts, or wears, is that the school can discipline a student just because they personally or morally did not like the comment/post. Most of the time, the kids that get in trouble for something they post are in their own home, on their own laptop, during...

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