Tinker v. Des Moines



Facts of Tinker v. Des Moines:

In December, 1965, Vietnam War protestors decided to wear black armbands during the holiday season to publicize their views. School officials decided that students wearing armbands would have to either remove their armbands or be suspended from school. When Mary Beth, Christopher, and John Tinker and other students wore black armbands to school, they were suspended.

They sued the school. The Supreme Court sided with the Tinkers. It saw the black armbands as a form of political speech and stated that schools had to show evidence of the possibility of a "substantial disturbance" before free speech could be limited.

Significance of Tinker v. Des Moines:

By siding with the students, the Supreme Court ensured that they had the right to free speech within schools as long as it did not disrupt the learning process. As the majority ruling stated, "...students do not abandon their civil rights at the school house door...."

Interesting Fact:

Leonard Tinker, father to the three Tinker children who were suspended from school, was a Methodist preacher.

After returning from their suspension, the Tinker children wore all black clothing for the rest of the school year.