Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., Civ. No. 7-1810-C-1.

CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of Iowa
Writing for the CourtDan Johnston, Des Moines, Ia., for plaintiffs
Citation258 F. Supp. 971
PartiesJohn F. TINKER and Mary Beth Tinker, minors, by their father and next friend, Leonard Tinker and Christopher Eckhardt, minor, by his father and next friend, William Eckhardt, Plaintiffs, v. The DES MOINES INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCiv. No. 7-1810-C-1.
Decision Date01 September 1966

258 F. Supp. 971

John F. TINKER and Mary Beth Tinker, minors, by their father and next friend, Leonard Tinker and Christopher Eckhardt, minor, by his father and next friend, William Eckhardt, Plaintiffs,
v.
The DES MOINES INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT et al., Defendants.

Civ. No. 7-1810-C-1.

United States District Court S. D. Iowa, Central Division.

September 1, 1966.


Dan Johnston, Des Moines, Ia., for plaintiffs.

Allan A. Herrick and Philip C. Lovrien, Des Moines, Ia., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

STEPHENSON, Chief Judge.

The plaintiffs instituted this action against the Des Moines Independent

258 F. Supp. 972
Community School District, its Board of Directors and certain administrative officials and teachers thereof in an attempt to recover nominal damages and obtain an injunction pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Jurisdiction exists under 28 U.S.C. § 1343

The events giving rise to this controversy took place in December 1965. During the second week of that month, it came to the attention of certain school officials that several students intended to wear black arm bands for the purpose of expressing their beliefs relating to the war in Viet Nam. A regulation was then promulgated by officials of the defendant school district prohibiting the wearing of arm bands on school facilities. After the regulation had been established, the plaintiffs, John Tinker, Mary Beth Tinker and Christopher Eckhardt, wore black arm bands to their respective schools.1 Each of the plaintiffs testified that their purpose in wearing the arm bands was to mourn those who had died in the Viet Nam war and to support Senator Robert F. Kennedy's proposal that the truce proposed for Christmas Day, 1965, be extended indefinitely. The plaintiffs herein were all aware of the regulation prohibiting the wearing of arm bands when they wore them to school. After being in their schools for varying lengths of time, each plaintiff was sent home by school officials for violating the regulation prohibiting the wearing of arm bands on school premises. Each plaintiff returned to school following the Christmas holidays. They did not wear arm bands at that time.

The question which now must be determined is whether the action of officials of the defendant school district forbidding the wearing of arm bands on school facilities deprived the plaintiffs of constitutional rights secured by the freedom of speech clause of the first amendment. An individual's right of free speech is protected against state infringement by the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. Gitlow v. People of State of New York, 268 U.S. 652, 45 S.Ct. 625, 69 L.Ed. 1138 (1925). The wearing of an arm band for the purpose of expressing certain views is a symbolic act and falls within the protection of the first amendment's free speech clause. West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Burnette, 319 U.S. 624, 63 S.Ct. 1178, 87 L.Ed. 1628 (1943); Stromberg v People of State of California, 283 U.S. 359, 51 S.Ct. 532, 75 L.Ed. 1117 (1931). However, the protections of that clause are not absolute. See, e. g., Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 503, 71 S.Ct. 857, 95 L.Ed. 1137 (1951); Near v. State of Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697, 51 S.Ct. 625, 75 L.Ed. 1357 (1931);...

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10 practice notes
  • Harkless v. Sweeny Independent Sch. Dist. of Sweeny, Tex., Civ. A. No. 66-G-34.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • June 6, 1969
    ...of Rep. Poland). 27 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21 L.Ed. 2d 731 (1969). 28 See Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community School Dist., 258 F.Supp. 971-972 (S.D.Iowa 1966), aff'd per curiam by an equally divided court, 383 F.2d 988 (8th Cir. 1967) (en banc), rev'd, 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21......
  • Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, No. 21
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 24, 1969
    ...of the school authorities' action on the ground that it was reasonable in order to prevent disturbance of school disipline. 258 F.Supp. 971 (1966). The court referred to but expressly declined to follow the Fifth Circuit's holding in a similar case that the wearing of symbols like the armba......
  • Zanders v. Louisiana State Board of Education, Civ. A. No. 13427.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • March 8, 1968
    ...University, 233 F.Supp. 396 (N.D.Fla.1963) where adequate hearing was afforded; Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Comm. School District, 258 F.Supp. 971 (S.D.Iowa 1966), aff'd en banc, 383 F.2d 988 (8th Cir. 1967), certiorari granted by Supreme Court, 390 U.S. 942, 88 S.Ct. 1050, 19 L.Ed. 11......
  • Maple v. Citizens Nat. Bank & Trust Co., No. CIV-77-0340-D.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • August 19, 1977
    ...Shultz v. Crotty Brothers Texas, Inc., 310 F.Supp. 761 (E.D.Tex.1970); Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 258 F.Supp. 971 (S.D.Iowa 1966), aff'd, 383 F.2d 988 (Eighth Cir. 1967), rev'd on other grounds, 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969); United State......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Harkless v. Sweeny Independent Sch. Dist. of Sweeny, Tex., Civ. A. No. 66-G-34.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • June 6, 1969
    ...of Rep. Poland). 27 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21 L.Ed. 2d 731 (1969). 28 See Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community School Dist., 258 F.Supp. 971-972 (S.D.Iowa 1966), aff'd per curiam by an equally divided court, 383 F.2d 988 (8th Cir. 1967) (en banc), rev'd, 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21......
  • Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, No. 21
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 24, 1969
    ...of the school authorities' action on the ground that it was reasonable in order to prevent disturbance of school disipline. 258 F.Supp. 971 (1966). The court referred to but expressly declined to follow the Fifth Circuit's holding in a similar case that the wearing of symbols like the armba......
  • Zanders v. Louisiana State Board of Education, Civ. A. No. 13427.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • March 8, 1968
    ...University, 233 F.Supp. 396 (N.D.Fla.1963) where adequate hearing was afforded; Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Comm. School District, 258 F.Supp. 971 (S.D.Iowa 1966), aff'd en banc, 383 F.2d 988 (8th Cir. 1967), certiorari granted by Supreme Court, 390 U.S. 942, 88 S.Ct. 1050, 19 L.Ed. 11......
  • Maple v. Citizens Nat. Bank & Trust Co., No. CIV-77-0340-D.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • August 19, 1977
    ...Shultz v. Crotty Brothers Texas, Inc., 310 F.Supp. 761 (E.D.Tex.1970); Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 258 F.Supp. 971 (S.D.Iowa 1966), aff'd, 383 F.2d 988 (Eighth Cir. 1967), rev'd on other grounds, 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969); United State......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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