Tinker V. Des Mointes School District

813 words - 4 pages

The first amendment states every United States citizen has the right to press, petition, assembly freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. Also, the amendment states the government is not allowed to make any law that breaks the rights of a citizen. In the case, Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969), the argument was if the students’ first amendment was violated, but the public schools are not an appropriate place to express freedom of speech.
In the 1960s, some Americans were against sending troops to Vietnam because of the many lives risked; others were against sending troops because of the money it would cost. In 1965, a group of Des Moines high school students met up and agreed to wear black armbands that following week to protest against the Vietnam War. Rumors got around to school principles. School Principals passed a rule forbidding armbands to be worn at school to prevent disruption in the classrooms. In December, five students wore armbands ignoring the school’s new rule. They were asked to take off the armbands, and they refused resulting in suspension ("Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist"). Then the parents of those complained that the first amendment rights of those students were violated. This case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that students still have their rights of freedom of speech and expression in school in a 7-2 vote in favor of Tinker (“TINKER v. DES MOINES INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT”).
Furthermore, the opinion of the Supreme Court reveled that students can express their opinions anywhere even when the principal clearly made a rule banning armbands so problems would not be created. The disruptions from armbands could cause comments and different views being expressed instead of anyone listening to the teacher and what is being taught. It may also offend others who have lost family members or friends due to the war. The principals knew all the possible issues that wearing armbands could cause. These are the reasons the students wearing the armbands were asked to take them off. Those students refused to take off the armbands. Also, the court’s opinion showed amendment one can be expressed anywhere, but in a previous case, Cox v. Louisiana, the court stated that amendment one does not mean anyone can express their beliefs or opinions at any time or place ("COX v. LOUISIANA"). School is the main place where...

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