Tinker Turns 50 2019

Tinker Turns 50: February  18 – 28

anniversary logo small

A celebration of youth voices and the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Tinker v Des Moines! All February events include Mary Beth & John Tinker.

Thank you to our sponsors: American Civil Liberties Union, American Board of Trial Advocates – Iowa, Des Moines Public Schools, Drake University, Iowa State University, Student Press Law Center and the University of Iowa.

Monday, February 18      Des Moines, Iowa

AM:  Jefferson Elementary

PM:  Weeks Middle School


Tuesday, February 19      Des Moines, Iowa

AM:  Harding Middle School

PM:  Brody MS Middle School


Wednesday, February 20     Des Moines, Iowa

AM: Hubbell Elementary

PM: Callanan Middle School


Thursday, February 21     Des Moines, Iowa

AM: Roosevelt High School

PM: Lincoln High School

North HS


Friday, February 22     Des Moines, Iowa

National Livestream by Iowa Public TV from State Historical Society of Iowa – all classrooms & public invited to tune in

CLICK HERE for more information (the live audience will be invited high school students only).  We are proud to be joined by Stanley Griffin, the son of civil rights hero Edna Griffin.

  • 10:00 – 11:00 am CST:Morning program featuring Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel, Mary Beth and John Tinker.

  • 12:30 – 1:30 pm CST: Afternoon program featuring Des Moines students, Mary Beth and John Tinker

We are also honored that, along with High School students from Iowa, Journalism students & Advisers from The Eagle Eye at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Florida will attend, as well as Journalism students & Adviser from The Eagle Nation News at Prosper HS in Texas.

5;00-7:00 pm CST:  Parkland book signing at Mars Cafe  *Free & Open to Public*

2318 University Ave. Des Moines

Parkland journalism teachers Sarah Lerner and Melissa Falkowski will sign their books, We Say #NeverAgain and Parkland Speaks, powerful collections of student articles & artwork. So, meet the advisers, and many of the students who will attend as well!

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 5.56.46 AM

7:00 pm CST: C-SPAN Landmark Cases

C-SPAN re-airs Landmark Cases program on Tinker v Des Moines. This video is also available to view online.

Saturday, February 23        Des Moines, Iowa

Celebration of Student Free Speech and Press Rights, with student journalists & Advisers from Iowa, Parkland, FL and Texas * Free & Open to Public *

4:00-6:00 pm CSTRAYGUN, 505 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309

$25 will get you this great shirt…. with 10% of proceeds going to help make the Tinker anniversary a success!

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 5.27.04 PM


Sunday, February 24     Des Moines, Iowa

Harding Middle School Events for Sunday, February 24th cancelled due to Department of Transportation  “no travel” advisory related to ice and snow.  

Instead, stay home and watch John Tinker on C-SPAN!


7:00-8:00 am CST: C-SPAN Live Interview

Live interview and viewer call-in with John Tinker,  broadcast on C-SPAN and simulcast on C-SPAN3.  Re-broadcast at the following times:


  • Sunday 5:30pm ET on C-SPAN 3: Re-Air of the Friday 2/22 Commemorative Event at the State Historical Society of Iowa
  • Sunday 6:30pm ET on C-SPAN 3: Re-Air of Interview with Mary Beth & John Tinker on Student Free Speech & the 50th Anniversary of Tinker v. Des Moines
  • Sunday 9:30pm ET on C-SPAN 3: Re-Air of the Friday 2/22 Commemorative Event at the State Historical Society of Iowa
  • Sunday 10:30pm ET on C-SPAN 3: Re-Air of Interview with Mary Beth & John Tinker on Student Free Speech & the 50th Anniversary of Tinker v. Des Moine


Harding Middle School, 203 East Euclid Avenue, Des Moines

  • 2:00 pm CST: Press Conference *Free & Open to Public*  Cancelled

Mary Beth and John Tinker, Mark Stringer, executive director of the ACLU of Iowa, and Tom Ahart, Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. Journalism students from Parkland, Florida, & Texas will be attending as press, and will be recognized.

  • 2:30 pm CST: Community Reception *Free & Open to Public*   Cancelled

Harding Junior High is the school where Mary Beth was suspended as a 13-year-old for wearing a black armband to school. Now, Harding students are speaking up again. Join the Tinkers, ACLU and the Des Moines Public Schools in a reception with refreshments to celebrate the anniversary. Get a selfie with the Tinkers or have them sign an armband!


Monday, February 25   Ames, Iowa

AM:  Ames High School  Ames HS event cancelled due to weather.   See you tonite at the Memorial Union! 

In the meantime, here’s John Tinker on C-Span:  https://www.c-span.org/video/?458074-3/washington-journal-john-tinker-discusses-50th-anniversary-tinker-v-des-moines

7:00 pm CST:  Iowa State Lecture Series, Iowa State University

  *Free & Open to Public*

“Stand Up! Speak Up! Youth & The First Amendment”

Great Hall, ISU Memorial Union, 2433 Union Drive, Ames Iowa

Mary Beth and John Tinker discuss the significance of their historic Supreme Court case through the years and in the current political climate. Mark Stringer, ACLU of Iowa Executive Director, will moderate. Part of the National Affairs Series: Building a Better Democracy Series and the First Amendment Day Series. Coordinated by the ISU Committee on Lectures.


Tuesday, February 26   Iowa City, Iowa

AM: West High School

6:00 pm CST: ACLU Supporters and Friends Reception  

7:30 pm CST: Panel Discussion with the Tinkers *Free & Open to Public*

University of Iowa, Old Capitol, 21 N. Clinton St., Iowa City

Panel discussion with the Tinkers and University of Iowa law professor Christina Bohannan, facilitated by ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer. Co-sponsored with the University of Iowa.


Wednesday, February 27   Des Moines, Iowa

7:00 pm CST   “Stand Up, Speak Up! Tinker v Des Moines Turns 50” * Free & Open to Public *

Cowles Library Reading Room, 2725 University Avenue

Drake University will mark the 50th anniversary of Tinker v. Des Moines, the landmark legal case that established the free speech rights of students in public schools. Mary Beth and John Tinker, plaintiffs in the case, along with Drake students, will lead a conversation on the values and challenges of freedom of expression. The event is co-sponsored by the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Drake Law School, Cowles Library. the Drake Department of Political Science, and the School of Education. It is free and open to the public.