In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Mary Beth and John Tinker and Tinker v. Des Moines: Opening the Schoolhouse Gates to First Amendment FreedomKJIHGFEDCBA K E L L Y SH A C K E L F O R D zyxwvutsrqpon One o fthe m o s t fam o u s p hras e sfro m a U.S. Supreme Court decision comes from ZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA T inker v. D es M oines Independent C om m unity School D istrict. In its majority opinion, written by Justice Abe Fortas, the Court said: It can hardly be argued, that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. T inker is not only one of my favorite cases, but a case I use every week in my work defending religious liberty in America. Some people might ask, “How does a group that does religious liberty rely so heavily on a free speech case?” The answer is that it’s very difficult to exercise your religious freedom if you can’t speak. So as you might imagine, free speech is very important to me. And in the schools when you’re fighting a religious freedoms’ case, T inker is the main case to cite because of that precious right to free speech. But how did the Tinkers get to the chamber of the U.S. Supreme Court? That is crucial to understand. In 1965, despite “Bonanza” and “Gomer Pyle” being the number one shows on television, it was a very tumultuous time. Martin Luther King and 2,600 others were arrested in Selma, Alabama. Malcolm X was shot and killed. There were riots in Watts, where thirty-four people were killed, 1,000 people were injured, unrest lasted over six days, and 4,000 people were arrested. It’s also the time when the Vietnam War started. By the end of 1965, almost 190,000 American troops were in Vietnam. So in November of that year, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to find out that a large number of people were TINKERJIHGFEDCBA (1969) AND STUDENTS’ FREE SPEECHKJIHGFEDCBA 373zyxwvutsrqpo gathering for a demonstration, a march to the White House, to get our troops home, to get out of the war. And as his mother announced that she was going to the march, fifteen-year-old John Tinker said, “I really want to go too.” And that’s really where this whole case started. Who was this family, the Tinkers? They had a long history of involvement with civil rights and demonstrations. If you look at that history, for instance, you find that Leonard Tinker, their father, grew up in a conservative community in Hudson, New York, and was a devoutly religious man. In fact, he met his wife Lorena at seminary. And this devout religious background led him to some conclusions in his life: a very strong Quaker-like anti-war pacifism and a commit­ ment to racial equality. And as a Methodist minister, that caused some problems. When he was in Atlantic, Iowa as a pastor, he stood with the only black family in town and their right to go to the community swimming pool. That ended up costing him his pastorate, and he was moved to Des Moines. In Des Moines, when he and his wife would invite black couples to their church, ZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA that caused trouble as well. Eventually John Tinker took a leave of absence from the Methodist church and accepted a position that he really loved, the Secretary of Peace and Education of the American Friends Service Committee. This is a Quaker group that’s committed to peace and anti-war activities. That led him to speak at churches all around. And when he traveled, he would take his children, and they would see what he was talking about. So, in fact, the Tinkers had been standing up for racial equality and what they believed for many years—with their children. Don’t miss that. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came through town, he actually talked to Lorena and he said, “Aren’t you concerned about the danger to your children when you take them to these things?” Dr. King was concerned about...