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Supreme Court Case: Tinker V. Des Moines

823 words - 4 pages

Many Supreme Court cases in the United States have reassured its citizens’ rights. One of those cases was that of the 1965 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District case. This case was about five students who were suspended from school for wearing black armbands. Should the students have been suspended? The Tinker v. Des Moines case was a very controversial Supreme Court case in which the right to freedom of speech and expression for students in public schools was violated.
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).
In the Tinker v. Des Moines case, the students’ first amendment right was violated. They were not able to express their opinions freely. The first Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the right of press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” (Classifying Arguments in the Case). The students have a right to wear what they want because of the right to freedom of speech, or expression, given to them by the Constitution; neither the government, nor the school can deny that. Wearing the black armbands is an expression because it expressed how the students felt about the Vietnam War.
There was no disruption in the class. The protest done by the students was calm and peaceful; it did not disrupt other students’ learning. The only reason the school could suspend the students was if they were disrupting class, which in this case, they were not. As Street law Inc. said, “The wearing of the armbands was a silent and passive expression of position,” (Classifying Arguments in the...

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