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Case: Tinker V. Desmoines Independent Community School District

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Case: Tinker v. DesMoines Independent Community School District

In this particular case, the question was raised as to whether or not a ban against wearing armbands in a public school, as a form of protest, violated the First Amendment's freedom of speech protections.

Three students decided to protest the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands to their schools. Worried that the armbands would cause trouble, the principals of the Des Moines school district came to a decision that all students wearing armbands be asked to remove them or face suspension. When the students came to school with the armbands on, they were asked to remove them. When they refused, they were suspended until after New Year's Day.

In the decision, the court found that the act of wearing armbands was "closely akin to 'pure speech' " and protected by the First Amendment. School environments can imply limitations on free expression, but in this case, it was determined that the principals lacked justification for imposing any such limits. The principals failed to prove that the prohibited conduct would significantly interfere with appropriate school discipline.

The legal implications of such a case shows that since the students were passive and quiet in their actions and did not intrude upon the rights of others, their actions were within the protection of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth. A school cannot set forth a ban against expression of opinion, without any evidence that the rule is necessary to avoid significant interference with school discipline or the rights of others, is not permissible under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Case: Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier

At Hazelwood East High School, Principal Robert Reynolds procedurally reviewed the school's student-written newspaper before it was published. In May 1983, he decided to have certain pages pulled because of the content in two of the articles. One of the articles discussed pregnant students and mentioned sex and birth control. The other article was about divorce and how one student felt about their father during the divorce.

The Principal make a decision to remove those articles prior to publication. The students involved in the paper were very angry and felt the removal of said articles was in violation of their First Amendment rights. The argued further that the principal didn't even give them an opportunity to "fix" the articles and make them more appropriate if necessary.

The court however agreed with the Principal. It stated that school officials might limit student's speech in the school newspaper if their decision has "a substantial and reasonable basis." In other words, if he has a good reason, it is okay for a principal to limit students' speech. But what does "good reason" mean?

Similar to the case of Tinker v. Des Moines, the arguments questioned whether school officials could control a student's personal expression that happens on school premises. In this case however, the court had to consider how much control school officials could have



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