FRIENDS: 50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK IOWA’S MARY BETH TINKER AND HER BROTHER, JOHN, WON AT THE COURT. THEY'D WORN BLACK ARMBANDS TO SCHOOL TO RAISE AWARENESS ABT WHAT THE SOUTHEAST ASIAN WAR, THE VIETNAM WAR, WAS DOING TO ASIA AND TO US HERE AT HOME.
THEY WERE SANCTIONED BY THEIR SCHOOL AND SO AN ULTIMATELY SUCCESSFUL BLOW FOR STUDENTS’ FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS, AT THE SUPREME COURT WAS WON.
THIS IS A BRIEF NOTE FROM MARY BETH TINKER, NOW, SHARING HOW IMPORTANT WAS THE WORK OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION …THE ACLU…IN THAT VICTORY:
When I was a teenager in 1965, I started to witness the horrors of the Vietnam War. I knew that young people in Des Moines were being sent to war, and some were coming home in coffins. So my brother John and I, along with a small group of students, decided to protest.
Little did we know that the black armbands we wore to school would mean a four-year court battle defending First Amendment rights alongside the ACLU.
AND YOU SHOULD CATCH THE YOU TUBE VIDEO …LOOK IT UP AT ACLU.ORG
…half-century ago, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on the side of students and the First Amendment. As the Court said, students don't "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."
Tinker set an important precedent for student rights cases. Over the years, the ACLU has successfully defended the right of students to wear anti-abortion armbands, pro-LGBT T-shirts – even the rights of high school students who wanted to protest the ACLU.
Today, I'm in Des Moines, Iowa, where the Tinker case originated. I'm honored to be joined here by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students from Parkland, Florida who have come to celebrate the anniversary. We feel united with youth across the country who are experiencing gun violence and many other issues, and we are heartened that students are speaking up.
This isn't just about students' ability to freely express themselves – student-led protests continue to shape national conversations and policy decisions. The past year has certainly demonstrated that.
A half-century after Tinker, students' ability to freely express their views – on issues large and small – is as important as ever. Learn more about this Supreme Court milestone for students' free speech rights.
Thanks for staying in this fight,
Mary Beth Tinker
Comments are closed for this blog post