November 12, 2013
The Department of Communication is excited to host an evening presentation by free speech champion Mary Beth Tinker, who made headlines as a teenager for precipitating the landmark 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case that protected the First Amendment rights of students and teachers. The event, which is open to the public, will take place in the Saint Louis Room of the Busch Student Center on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m.
As a teenager during the Vietnam War, Tinker was among a small group of students in Des Moines, Iowa, who wore black armbands to school as symbols of mourning and support for a "Christmas truce." For that, she was suspended and her family received death threats. She sued, and her case wound its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in her favor. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, the Supreme Court famously ruled that students and teachers do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."
This fall, Tinker and First Amendment attorney Mike Hiestand are touring the country on the "Tinker Tour," visiting colleges, law schools and high schools to promote civics education, youth voices, free speech, and a free press. The tour launched from Philadelphia on Constitution Day and will make more than 50 stops.