The 50th Anniversary of the Tinker v. Des Moines Schools Decision

Feb 22, 2019  | 57 min  | 
Mary Beth Tinker was a 13-year-old junior high school student in December 1965 when she, her brother John, 15, and a group of Iowa students wore black armbands to school to protest the war in Vietnam. That decision led the students and their families to embark on a four-year court battle that culminated in the landmark 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision for student free speech: Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Iowa PBS captured a live presentation and Q&A with Mary Beth and John Tinker as they reflected on the case and its impact. The program was recorded at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines on Friday, February 22, 2019, and features special guests and questions submitted by students across the U.S.
Student questions and discussion during the event were shared on Twitter using the hashtag #tinkerversary.

Mary Beth and John Tinker answer questions asked by students in the auditorium and those watching live online.

Rebecca Schneid, co-editor-in-chief of the Eagle Eye, the student newspaper of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, provides a statement about the importance of student press freedom.

Jenny Nguyen, Class President at Des Moines North High School, presents a short speech about the importance of first amendment rights for young students.

An Oral History of the Tinker v. Des Moines Schools Decision
View this collection of in-studio interviews with John and Mary Beth Tinker as they recount their experiences and motivations during this important milestone for first amendment rights. Recorded on February 21, 2019 at Iowa PBS studios in Johnston, Iowa.
Find out More about Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District
Explore more about the case and its impact with the following resources:




Live Event Partner:
State Historical Society of Iowa


Photo: Steven Petteway/Supreme Court Historical Society