Tinker Vs. Des Moines

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Case Name: Tinker vs. Des Moines (1969) Facts of the case: In December of 1965, a group of Des Moines students held a meeting at 16-year-old Christopher Eckhardt’s house to plan a public showing of their support for a truce in the Vietnam war. They came to the decision that they would wear black armbands during the holiday season and fast on December 16 as well as New Year’s Eve. When the principals of the Des Moines school learned about the plan, they met on December 14 to create a policy stating that any student wearing an armband would be asked to remove it, and would be suspended if they refused to do so. On December 16, Mary Beth Tinker and Christopher Eckhardt wore their armbands to school and were consequently sent home. The next day, John Tinker did the same thing, and was also suspended. The students did not come back to school until after New Year’s Day, the planned end of the protest. Lower court verdict: The 3 teenagers ended up filing a Civil Rights lawsuit in federal court through their fathers, asking the court to issue an injunction that would bar the school system from further disciplining students in the same situation as well nominal damages. The district court sided with the school board, deciding that the school’s fear of this protest causing disruptions of school discipline was within reason. The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this ruling on an evenly divided vote. The students ended up bringing their case to the Supreme Court after that.
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