Mary Beth and John Tinker to visit West Tuesday to commemorate 50th anniversary of landmark Tinker vs. Des Moines ruling

The Tinkers will speak with West students on Feb. 26


Allie Schmitt-Morris

Mary Beth Tinker first visited West on May 5, 2016, to talk to students about their First Amendment rights. She will return—this time, with her brother John Tinker—as part of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent School District.

WSS Staff

Mary Beth and John Tinker, two of the plaintiffs in the landmark Tinker v. Des Moines student rights case that turns 50 this year, will visit West High on Feb. 26 to speak to students about their First Amendment rights, as part of the Tinker Tour.

The Tinkers will speak with West students in the auditorium on Tuesday afternoon and in the Senate Chambers later that evening.

If any West students or parents are interested in attending the speaking engagement at West, they should email journalism teacher Sara Whittaker at [email protected] for details about the event.

Mary Beth Tinker was a 13-year-old junior high school student in December 1965 when she, her brother John, and a small group of friends were suspended from school for wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam war. The American Civil Liberties Union took the case to the Supreme Court. On February 24, 1969, in a landmark decision, the Court ruled in favor of Tinker, affirming students First Amendment rights.

Mary Beth also visited West during the 50th anniversary of wearing the armbands in 2016. The Tinkers will also meet with the West Side Story newspaper staff after speaking in the auditorium on Tuesday.