First Amendment In The Classroom

First Amendment In The Classroom
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Tinker vs Des Moines Court Case

Supreme 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 illustrate scenarios in which student's First Amendment rights are protected in the classroom and when they are not.

Storyboard Text

  • When The 1st Amendment IS Protected In The Classroom
  • When The 1st Amendment IS NOT Protected In The Classroom
  • END THE WAR!!!
  • Wearing an arm band that represents protest in school is protected by the First Amendment. As established in the Tinker vs. Des Moines court case, as long as the speech or protest does not disrupt the learning environment students have the right to use this form of symbolic speech.
  • Dear G-d... please be with me as I take my test.
  • CalculusTest Today !
  • Although the Supreme Court has ruled that students do not lose their Constitutional Rights when they enter the schoolhouse door, their use of expression cannot interfere with the learning environment. In this example, students are preventing their teacher from conducting his lesson, which would not be behavior that the First Amendment protects.
  • Calculus Test Today#2 Pencils OnlyNo Calculators!
  • Good Morning Class! Before we begin our test today, I would like you all to join hands in prayer to our one true God....
  • In this example, a student is saying a prayer to himself before the start of his calculus test. Although a public school teacher would not be able to direct students in prayer, a student has the 1st Amendment's Freedom of Religion to remain religious and partake in certain religious customs in a classroom.
  • Although students and teachers have the 1st Amendment protection of Freedom of Religion, there are limits as to what can occur in a public school building. The "Establishment Clause" prohibits the government from establishing an official religion. In this scenario, the government (school) seems to be forcing students to take part in a religious custom. By doing this, the teacher has violated the Establishment Clause by promoting one specific religion.
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