Legal Impact of Tinker V Des Moines
In the 1980s, the Court created exceptions for Tinker in Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser (1986), Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988) and Morse v. Frederick (2007). In Fraser, the court allowed school officials to regulate vulgar, obscene and clearly offensive speech by students, and in Hazelwood, it created a softer standard of relevance for reviewing the regulation of school-sponsored expression by school officials. The Morse court ruled that public school officials can restrict the speech of students they reasonably believe advocate illegal drug use. Tinker remains the main precedent for First Amendment jurisprudence. Expand this activity by distinguishing judgments in two other landmark cases from student speeches that affect First Amendment rights in schools.
DISCLAIMER: These resources are created by the U.S. Courts Administrative Office for educational purposes only. They may not reflect the current state of the law and are not intended to provide legal advice, advice on litigation or commentary on pending cases or laws. The Tinker decision marked a turning point in American history. “Virtually all observers—lawyers and laymen alike—regard Tinker as the culmination of First Amendment student rights.”  The decision recognizes the importance for students to learn the value and importance of constitutional rights and to live in environments that respect them. Let us hope that more school officials will respect the lessons and legacy of this historic decision. In each of those three decisions after Tinker – Fraser, Hazelwood and Morse – the Supreme Court ruled against public school students and in favour of school officials. However, the Tinker case is still the basic rule of student-initiated speech that is not vulgar or obscene or encourages the use of illegal drugs. ” In the absence of a precise explanation of the constitutionally valid grounds for regulating their speech, students have the right to freedom of expression. It can hardly be argued that students or teachers have waived their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the school gate.
Judge Abe Fortas, speaking for the majority This case examines the legal concept of freedom of expression. John and Mary Beth Tinker and Christopher Eckhardt of Des Moines, Iowa, wore black armbands in their public school as a symbol of protest against American involvement in the Vietnam War. School authorities asked the students to remove their armbands, and they were later suspended. The Supreme Court ruled that students had the right to wear armbands because they did not interfere with the educational mission of the school. Judge Abe Fortas said no one expected students to “exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the school gate.” The Supreme Court created another exception for Tinker, allowing public school officials to “restrict the opinions of students they reasonably consider to promote illicit drug use.”  Unschooling is a more drastic approach. She campaigned for the abolition of schools. It was offered in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. It is no longer an active movement. Lane, Robert Wheeler.
Beyond the school door: freedom of expression and the transmission of values. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995. The net result for public school students has been a pair of decisions that have reduced or removed some of Tinker`s protections. In the first case, Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser, the court ruled that public school officials can punish a student for making a sexual speech to the student assembly at which a classmate is appointed to elective office. Although Matthew Fraser gave a political speech, the court focused on his obscene and vulgar language. Presiding Justice Warren Burger wrote for the court, “The unchallenged freedom to hold unpopular and controversial views in schools and classrooms must be weighed against society`s opposing interest in teaching students the limits of socially appropriate behavior.” .  David L. Hudson, Jr. Let The Students Speak!: A History of the Fight for Freedom of Expression in American Schools (Beacon Press, 2011), p. 69.
This meant that the only place students could win was the U.S. Supreme Court. But they did so by a vote of 7 to 2. “It can hardly be argued that students or teachers have waived their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the school gate,” Justice Abe Fortas wrote.  The Supreme Court struck down the lower courts, ruling that a student`s right to freedom of expression must take precedence over the needs of the school, without any real reason to expect disruptive behaviour. In that case, the Supreme Court questioned the legitimate fear of the school administration, as the children wore the bracelets only peacefully, without disturbing language or actions, and essentially as an act of “pure speech” at the heart of the First Amendment. The court did not rule out the possibility that schools would ban certain expressions that could “significantly” affect the school`s operations, but the court stressed that this could not simply be an unsubstantiated allegation that violence can occur. In addition, the Court emphasized that freedom of expression most strongly protects minority views in political matters, and since no other type of symbolic speech was prohibited, the Court criticized the ban by the administrators for targeting a particular minority viewpoint. Students` freedom of expression and the right to symbolic expression in schools are the subject of the landmark case of Tinker v. Monks of the Supreme Court. Frederick argued that Principal Morse violated his right to free speech by giving off-campus speeches that did not disturb the school. He was right.
After all, he was not on the school grounds, but on a public road, when he unveiled the banner.