5Ws of Tinker vs Des Moines Example

5Ws of Tinker vs Des Moines Example
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Tinker vs Des Moines Court Case

Tinker vs Des Moines

Lesson Plans by Matt Campbell

Between 1964 and 1973, millions of Americans took part in a countless number of protests against the Vietnam War. With thousands of young American soldiers being killed every year, the protests and opposition became the fabric of this social movement that defined a generation. In 1965, a small group of students in Des Moines, Iowa made a clothing decision that would soon result in a landmark Supreme Court decision.


Tinker vs. Des Moines

Storyboard Description

Have students answer the 5Ws for the Tinker vs Des Moines case: who, what, when, where, and why

Storyboard Text

  • Who Were The Students Involved In The Case?
  • What Was The Decision Of The Supreme Court?
  • " The wearing of armbands in the circumstances of this case was closely akin to 'pure speech' which is entitled to comprehensive protection under the First Amendment." - Justice Abe Fortas
  • When Did This Take Place?
  • The students involved in this case were 15 year old John F. Tinker, 16 year old Christopher Eckhardt, and 13 year old Mary Beth Tinker. Although the students felt they had the right to wear the armbands in protest of the Vietnam War, they were suspended as they were in violation of a new anti-armband rule at school.
  • In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the students. The Supreme Court stated that students nor teachers "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." Since the Tinkers were not disrupting the learning environment, this symbolic speech was allowed following the landmark Supreme Court case.
  • The Tinker students wore their armbands to school in 1965. During that same year, almost 2,000 American soldiers were killed in the Vietnam War. Over the next five years, the death rate would increase almost 10x. The protests and opposition to the war continually grew throughout the late 1960s.
  • Where Did These Students Protest?
  • North High School
  • 5 Ws Of Tinker vs Des Moines
  • Why Did The Students Fight Their Suspension?
  • Join MarchingBand!
  • NoArmBands
  • Principal's Office
  • JJChristopher Eckhard, along with John and Marybeth Tinker, wore their armbands to their public High School and Junior High School in the Des Moines Independent Community School District.
  • The students fought their suspension as they felt that the brand new school rule regarding arm bands was both aimed at them and a violation of their 1st Amendment rights. The students argued that the arm bands were a form of symbolic speech that was protected as it did not interfere with the learning process inside of the classroom.
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