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Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)

The Court ruled that black armbands worn in protest of the Vietnam War by public school students like Mary Beth Tinker were “pure speech,” or symbolic speech, and were protected by the First Amendment’s provisions for freedom of speech. The decision held: “First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate…”

The cases Bethel School District v. Fraser (1986) and Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988) also dealt with public students’ rights to expression in school.

This case touched on the civic values of respect, courage, moderation, individual efficacy, and responsibilities of citizenship.