It’s difficult for me to imagine my 13-year-old-self protesting anything short of the cancellation of a school dance, let alone something of national importance, then accepting a suspension from school, and also being backed by my parents. So when I try to put myself in the shoes of Mary Beth Tinker in 1965—well, I can’t.
But you, your students, and I have the opportunity to do just that this week during the 50th Anniversary celebration of the landmark 1969 Supreme Court Ruling in favor of students’ speech rights in school. Events this week feature Mary Beth and John Tinker, two of the plaintiffs in the Tinker case, in collaboration with Des Moines Public Schools, C-SPAN, Iowa Public TV, State Historical Society of Iowa, American Civil Liberties Union, Student Press Law Center, American Board of Trial Advocates and others. And, Marjory Stoneman Douglas journalism students and advisers will be joining the Tinkers as they feature student journalists from Iowa and nationwide.
Watch a presentation and Q&A with Mary Beth and John Tinker as they reflect on the case and its impact on Iowa Public Television, Friday, February 22, 2019, at 12:30p.m.CT. If you can’t catch the live stream, find the video, The 50th Anniversary of the Tinker v. Des Moines Schools Decision, archived on the PBS app, YouTube, and at IPTV.org.
Listen to this brief podcast to bone up on Tinker v Des Moines, the 7-2 decision that is most often cited to defend students’ intellectual freedom because it states, “Students don’t shed their constitutional rights at the school house gates.”
Thinking about sharing this case with your students? You’ll find some resources here.