Tinker V Des Moines
TinkerV Des Moines
The case occurred as a result of the Vietnam War. In1965, John F Tinker, his siblings Hope (11), Mary Tinker (13), PaulTinker (8) together with their acquaintance Christopher Eckdhart (16)resolved to dress black armbands to college in protest of Vietnamwar. Christopher and John wore the armbands to high school, Mary tosubordinate high school and basic school for Hope and Paul. The DesMoines Schools` principals learned of the intentional protests andset up a meeting in December 14 to deliberate on ways to stop theprotest. They resolved that student spotted dressing an armband toschool would be requested to confiscate it immediately. Their studieswould be deferred until such a time when he or she agrees to complywith the policy in place (Doreen and Rappaport 69). ChristopherEckhardt and Mary Beth Tinker, in December 16th,1965, were eliminated from school for dressing armbands. John worethe armband of December 17th and was also suspended. They all weresuspended until January 1966 when the protests would end. Thefamilies did not see the need of instituting a suit until after LowaCivil Liberties Union approached the families (Rosenfield 36).
Consequently,their fathers instituted a case in the United States District Court.In keeping the verdict of Des Moines schools, the District courtstated among other things that the wearing of armbands to schoolwould disrupt learning. The court of appeal equally upheld thedecision of the school. This prompted the Eckhardts and Tinkers tomake an appeal directly to the Supreme Court. The case was finallyheard on the 12th November 1968 and was entirely funded by Iowaresidents through the Iowa Civil Liberties Union.
Asnoted above, the parents sued the school for infringing on theirchildren`s freedom of expression as provided for in the constitution.There were three constitutional issues for consideration anddetermination the first issue was for the court to make adetermination whether or not the students’ conduct was within theFree Speech Clause of the First amendment.Thenext issue was whether or not first modification right were availableto both students and teachers and the extent of its application.Thirdly was the issue of whether or not the prohibition of expressionof opinion was permissible under the first and fourteenth amendment.
TheSupreme Court in discussing the first and second issues highlightedabove held that the First Amendment rights as applied to exceptionalcharacteristics for school environments are available to both thestudents and teachers. That it is outrageous to argue that thestudent and teachers lost their lawful right to “freedom ofexpression” at the school entrance (Strossen and Nadine 446). TheSupreme Court affirmed that the issue had been the jurisprudence setby courts for over fifty years in cases such as Bartelsv Iowa,262 U.S 404 and MeyerV Nebraska,262 US 390 both of 1963. The conclusion of the “District Court”that the act of the school authorities was sensible because it wasfounded upon their distress of the trouble from wearing the armbandswas farfetched.
TheSupreme Court affirmed that under the “constitution free speech”was not a limitable right and that it existed in principle and not infact. The court further noted with concern the provision of the lawthat says that the “Congress may not abridge the right to freespeech. It criticized the lower courts for only reading to allow thearticle reasonable regulation of speech but not confine thepermissible exercise of the first amendment to supervise discussionin a school classroom” (Farish and Leah 123).
Theadoption of the rules by the school officials to forbid discussion ofthe Vietnam conflict by the student is a violation of theconstitutional right of student. Inthis case the prohibition of the armbands is a violation of theconstitutional right. There is no sufficient justification showingthat the student`s action would have led to a substantial disruptionof school activities. The petitioners wore the armbands to “expresstheir disapproval of Vietnam hostilities. In the circumstances,therefore, the Supreme Court concluded that the ‘Constitution’did not allow school officials to deny the students their freedom ofexpression” (Hussain and Murad 292).
SupremeCourt Decision and Impact
TheUS Supreme Court, in 1969, ruled unanimously in favor of thestudents. The court held that the students, in “dressing thearmbands” were silent and did infringe on the rights of others. Thecourt observed that the students` behavior was within the defense offree speech section under the initial amendment. It also found thatthe first amendment right was available to both students andteachers. Further, the court led by Justice Abe Fortas observed thatthe teacher and school kids cannot be said to shed their right tofreedom of expression or speech to at the school gate (Hussain andMurad 294). The students` action of wearing armbands to school didnot bring any disruption. The activity represented a constitutionallyprotected right of speech and the freedom of expression. The caseremains a frequently cited court precedent. The Supreme Court reliedon the case in the case of “Bethel School District V Fraser (1986)and in Hazelwood v Kuhlmeler 1988”.
Farish,Leah. Tinkerv. Des Moines: Student Protest.Enslow Pub Incorporated, 2015.
Hussain,Murad. "The" Bong" show: viewing Frederick`s publicitystunt through Kuhlmeier`s lens." YaleLJ Pocket Part116 (2012): 292-416.
LouiseRosenfield (2013). Journey to Autonomy: A Memoir (1st Ed.). Ames, IA:Iowa State University Press.
Rappaport,Doreen. Tinkervs. Des Moines.Star Walk Kids Media, 2012
Strossen,Nadine. "Keeping the Constitution Inside the SchoolhouseGate-Students` Rights Thirty Years After Tinker v. Des MoinesIndependent Community School District." DrakeL. Rev.48 (2014): 445.
Tinkerv. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist.,393 U.S. 503, 506 (2013).
No related posts.