This case first began in December 1965, when a group of students in Des Moines decided to publicly show their support for a truce in the vietnam war through the holiday season and to fast on Dec 16 and New Years Eve. Des Moines (a school district) responded by creating a policy that violates students wearing an armband to school.
On December 16, Mary and John Beth Tinker, along with Christopher Eckhardt, wore the bands to school, which resulted in being suspended. The students sued the school for violating students’ right of free expression. This was taken to the supreme court and the parties included the students (plaintiff), Des Moines (Defendant) and the opinions bt Brennan, Stewart, White, Fortas, Marshall, Harlan, Douglas, Black and Warren. Through the parents of the Petitioners (mARY and John Beth Tinker, and Christopher Eckhardt), the students sued the school district for violating the students’ right of expression and believed that this was not the way of disciplining students. The students stated that the ban to wearing armbands in public schools as a form of symbolic protests is unconstitutional and violates the students freedom of speech, according to the first amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the govt for a redress of grievances,” Des Moines argues that their prohibition against wearing armbands in public schools does not violate the students’ freedom of speech protections guaranteed by the first amendment.
Des Moines argued that the First AMendment does not provide the right to express any opinion at any time. They stated that the wearing of hand bands approved to be a distraction from students’ work, and it’s a school’s right to perform its duties to discipline the students. The respondents argues that “the Vietnam War distractracted from the singleness of purpose which state (Iowa) desired to exist in its public educational institutions.” (Justia, 1969).(Amendment I, US Constitution). This case was argued on Nov, 12, 1968, and decided on Feb 24, 1969.
After over a year, the court dismissed the case and held that schools districts; actions were reasonable to uphold school discipline, after justice Abe Fortas delivered the opinion of the 7-2 majority. (both seniority and ideology). Personally, if I were a justice of the Supreme Court, I would have added an eighth vote to the 7-2 majority, making it an 8-3 vote. Although the 1st amendment states that congress shall not establish a law abridging the freedom of speech, the first amendment does not provide the right to express any opinion at any time. It is a school’s right to discipline its student because if any opinions expressed at any time, Des MOines would turn into a court on its own. Opinions can be expressed out of school.