The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa would like to thank its three young plaintiffs, without whose remarkable courage Tinker v. Des Moines Schools never would have happened.
In 1969, three Des Moines students changed the course of student freedom of expression by insisting on their right to support a truce in the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands to their public schools. Mary Beth Tinker (shown at left), age 13, John Tinker, 15, and their friend Christopher Eckhardt, 16, wore black arm bands to their Des Moines high school and junior high. They were suspended.
The Iowa Civil LIberties Union (now the ACLU-IA) approached the families, and helped them file suit in U.S. district court, which upheld the school’s decision. Eventually, the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in the students’ favor. On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court set a new benchmark for student rights, saying “It can hardly be argued the either or students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa continues to fight for students’ rights. Find out more about us at www.aclu-ia.org
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is a sponsoring partner of the Thursday's ChildrenProject.