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Street Law, Inc. and The Supreme Court Historical Society present
Street Law /
Landmark Cases /
Tinker v. Des Moines
". . . In the absence of a specific showing of constitutionally valid reasons to regulate their speech, students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views." — Justice Fortas, speaking for the majority
John and Mary Beth Tinker of Des Moines, Iowa, wore black armbands to their public school as a symbol of protest against American involvement in the Vietnam War. When school authorities asked that the Tinkers remove their armbands, they refused and were subsequently suspended. The Supreme Court decided that the Tinkers had the right to wear the armbands, with Justice Abe Fortas stating that no one expects students to “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
These materials were developed for students of various skill levels, and teachers should choose the level that works best for their students. Answers to the background questions, vocabulary, and activities can be found in the FOR TEACHERS ONLY tab under each case.
After the Case
* Answers to the background questions, vocabulary, and activities can be found in the FOR TEACHERS ONLY tab under each case.
Complete the activities assigned for the first day. Assign half of the class to read key excerpts from the dissenting opinion for homework.
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