Do you use document-based questions in your classroom?

This summer the Bill of Rights Institute is blogging a document-based question on the Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines (1969). Each weekly post will feature an excerpted document related to the case, along with some questions to guide your thinking on it. Each document should be used to address the question: “Evaluate the extent to which the First Amendment should protect symbolic speech, and the degree to which that protection should be guaranteed to students in public school.”

Check out our previous posts for a case background and document #1, document #2, West Virginia v. Barnette, document #3, a picture of Vietnam War protestors outside the White House, document #4, a collection of “Hate Mail” received by the Tinker Family, document #5 and document #6, parts of the Oral Arguments for the case, and document #7, the Majority Opinion.

Today’s document is Concurring Opinion, Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969.

Although I agree with much of what is said in the Court’s opinion, and with its judgment in this case, I cannot share the Court’s uncritical assumption that, school discipline aside, the First Amendment rights of children are coextensive with those of adults.

Think about it:

What objection does the concurring opinion make about the majority opinion?

How does this impact your answer to the DBQ question: “Evaluate the extent to which the First Amendment should protect symbolic speech, and the degree to which that protection should be guaranteed to students in public school”?

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Check back each week to see the next document and how it might change your thinking on this important question that affects all public school teachers and students in the U.S.!

If you are enjoying this DBQ – be sure to check out our curriculum Supreme Court DBQs: Exploring the Cases the Changed History.

Posted in A More Perfect Blog


5 Responses to “Document 8 – Tinker v. Des Moines”

  1. [...] Check out our previous posts for a case background and document #1, #2 West Virginia v. Barnette, #3 a picture of Vietnam War protestors outside the White House, #4 a collection of “Hate Mail” received by the Tinker Family, document #5 and document #6, parts of the Oral Arguments for the case, document #7, the Majority Opinion, and document #8, the Concurring Opinion. [...]

  2. [...] #5 and document #6, parts of the Oral Arguments for the case, document #7, the Majority Opinion, document #8, the Concurring Opinion, and document #9, the Dissenting Opinion (Hugo Black), document #10, the [...]

  3. [...] #5 and document #6, parts of the Oral Arguments for the case, document #7, the Majority Opinion, document #8, the Concurring Opinion, and document #9, the Dissenting Opinion (Hugo Black), document #10, the [...]

  4. [...] #5 and document #6, parts of the Oral Arguments for the case, document #7, the Majority Opinion, document #8, the Concurring Opinion, and document #9, the Dissenting Opinion (Hugo Black), document #10, the [...]

  5. [...] #5 and document #6, parts of the Oral Arguments for the case, document #7, the Majority Opinion, document #8, the Concurring Opinion, and document [...]

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