Tinker v. Des Moines

From wikilawschool.net. Wiki Law School does not provide legal advice. For educational purposes only.
Tinker v. Des Moines
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided February 24, 1969


In December 1965, a group of students & parents protested the Vietnam War in Des Moines, Iowa, by wearing black armbands with peace signs on them.

Des Moines banned armbands in public schools.

Tinker and friends were anti-war activist teenagers.

Procedural History

Tinker, with help from ACLU, sued the school in federal court. The district court ruled that the ban on armbands was reasonable to prevent disturbance.


Subject: Protecting Student’s 1st Amendment Rights

Does the First Amendment protect the free-speech rights of students in public schools?


Yes. If the forbidden conduct doesn't materially & substantially interfere with appropriate discipline in the operation of the school, a prohibition of an expression of an opinion is un-constitutional.


The Tinker Test = substantial disruption test

Tinker Standard is defined as "Under the First Amendment, public school officials can only suppress student speech that will materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school." according to Quimbee.