Mar 12, 2019 / E-news
John F. Tinker will speak during the awards ceremony at the We the People National Finals on April 29.
In 1969, Tinker and his sister were two of four students suspended from their school in Iowa for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. These students and their families were petitioners in the landmark Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines that resulted in a ruling that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
This important precedent, the “Tinker Standard,” is now fifty years old and discourages school administration from punishing students for expressions which are not “materially and substantially” disruptive to the educational environment. Its significance is one of the reasons that We the People students study the case of Tinker v. Des Moines. Unit 5 groups this year will also answer the question:
“It has been fifty years since the landmark case of Tinker v. Des Moines. Since Tinker, have the rights of students in public schools been expanded or limited?”
To recognize its fifty-year anniversary, one school will be presented with a special Tinker Award based on its response to this question (Unit 5, Question 3). The award is sponsored by the John F. Tinker Foundation, whose mission is to help to educate students, teachers and school administrators regarding the First Amendment rights of students, and to encourage the discussion of controversial issues across political boundaries.
Don’t forget to tune into Tinker’s speech, which will be broadcast live via the Center’s Facebook page.