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Tinker v Des Moines Petitioners three public school pupils in Des Moines Iowa were suspended from school for wearing black armbands to protest the Governments policy in Vietnam John F Tinker 15 years old and petitioner Christopher Eckhardt 16 years old attended high schools in Des Moines Iowa Petitioner Mary Beth Tinker Johns sister was a 13-year-old student in junior high school In December 1965 a group of adults and students in Des Moines held a meeting at the Eckhardt home The group determined to publicize their objections to the hostilities in Vietnam and their support for a truce by wearing black armbands during the holiday season and by fasting on December 16 and New Years Eve Petitioners and their parents had previously engaged in similar activities and they decided to participate in the program The principals of the Des Moines schools became aware of the plan to wear armbands On December 14 1965 they met and adopted a policy that any student wearing an armband to school would be asked to remove it and if he refused he would be suspended until he returned without the armband Petitioners were aware of the regulation that the school authorities adopted On December 16 Mary Beth and Christopher wore black armbands to their schools John Tinker wore his armband the next day They were all sent home and suspended from school until they would come back without their armbands They did not return to school until after the planned period for wearing armbands had expired -- that is until after New Years Day This complaint was filed in the United States District Court by petitioners through their fathers under 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code It prayed for an injunction restraining the respondent school officials and the respondent members of the board of directors of the school district from disciplining the petitioners and it sought nominal damages The District Court dismissed the complaint
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