Tinker Tour ready to hit the road; fall itinerary announced

August 19, 2013


Student free speech and civics road trip announces stops; includes diverse venues

The Tinker Tour today announced a fall itinerary for its free speech, free press and civics education tour of schools across the country. A special project of the The Student Press Law Center, the tour is endorsed by the ACLU, the NAACP, The National Council for the Social Studies, the Newseum, the Journalism Education Association and other civics and journalism groups.

The fall itinerary focuses on schools east of the Mississippi. Fundraising for a tour of western schools in the spring continues.

Mary Beth Tinker, a plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case, “Tinker v Des Moines,” will highlight the tour.   After being suspended from school in 1965 for wearing a black armband to mourn the Vietnam War dead, Tinker and other students prevailed when the Court ruled by 7-2 in their favor.

“2013, the 50th anniversary of the Birmingham Childrens’ Crusade,the March on Washington and so much civil rights history is a fitting time for a student free speech tour,” Tinker said.  “In our case, the Supreme Court cited Mississippi’s student activists to define students’ rights today.  So, as we celebrate the power of youth voices that brought us so far,  we also celebrate the young people who keep moving democracy forward by speaking up today.”

According to Lexus Nexus, the Tinker ruling has been cited in student cases almost 6,000 times, and set a precedent for students‘ rights that remains today.  It is included in most high school civics and history textbooks because of its significance.

Mike Hiestand, an attorney with the Student Press Law Center, will travel with the tour to address student press rights.  He has provided assistance to nearly 15,000  student journalists.

“Almost 50 years ago, we made a difference with just an armband,” Tinker said. “Now, students are using so many other tools to make a difference and keep the First Amendment alive.  We’re looking forward to hearing their experiences.”

In addition to schools, the Tinker Tour expects to reach thousands of students and teachers at four national conventions where it will be featured, including the College Press Association/Associated Collegiate Press convention in New Orleans and the American Bar Association’s Law-Related Education convention in Atlanta.


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