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Tinker v Des Moines Ind Comm School District 393 US 503 1969 21 Freedom of Speech Argued on November 12 1968 Decided on February 24 1969 Dan L Johnston argued the cause for the petitioner Nov 12 1968 Allan A Herrick argued the cause for the respondents Nov 12 1968 John Tinker 15 years old his sister Mary Beth Tinker 13 years old and Christopher Echardt 16 years old decided along with their parents to protest the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands to their Des Moines schools during the christmas holiday season Upon learning of their intentions and fearing that the armbands would provoke disturbances the principals of Des Moins school districts resolved that all students wearing armbands be asked to remove them or face suspension When the Tinker siblings and Christopher wore their armbands to school they were asked to remove them When they refused they were suspended until after New Years Day Does a prohibition against the wearing of armbands in public school as a form of symbolic protest violate the First Amendments freedom of speech protections The wearing of armbands was closely kin to pure speech and protected by the First Amendment School environments imply limitations on free expression but here the principals lacked justification for imposing any such limitsThe principals had failed to show that the forbidden conduct would substantially interfere with appropriate school discipline
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