Brief Fact Summary. Tinker (Petitioner) was suspended from school for showing his support of the anti-war movement.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Student speech may be regulated when such speech would materially and substantially interfere with the discipline and operation of a school.
The rights of free speech and assembly, while fundamental in our democratic society, still do not mean that everyone with opinions or beliefs to express may address a group at any public place and at any time.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Is symbolic speech by public school students protected under the First Amendment?
Held. Yes. Students are persons worthy of constitutional protections both while in school and out of school.
Dissent. The students are not wise enough to support or reject a cause. It is best to leave the order of education to the administrator’s judgment.
Discussion. The wearing of the armband was singled out of all other symbolic speech engaged in by the student body. Clearly, this was designed to erase all opposition to the war speech in the schools and was not related to any legitimate purpose. There was no evidence that the wearing of the armbands caused any disruption of any class or school function.