Hosts of the Tinker Tour have permission to reproduce the following as needed
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Mary Beth Tinker: My Story
Over fifty years ago, in 1965, 13-year-old Mary Beth Tinker was part of a small group of students in Des Moines, Iowa who made history by wearing black armbands to school to mourn the dead in the Vietnam War and call for a Christmas truce. After being suspended for their actions, the students eventually won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, with the Court declaring in 1969 that neither teachers or students “shed their Constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
Today, the Tinker ruling continues to protect students’ rights, and has been cited by judges in almost 6,000 student cases. It is included in most American civics and history textbooks.
Join Mary Beth as she tours the country on a “Tinker Tour,” where she recounts her journey, shares stories of other young people and hears from you about how young voices are making a difference. Of course, basic civics will be front and center!
Suitable for all audiences, this talk is generally scheduled for 45-60 minutes, including Q & A period. There can also be time afterwards for photos, autographed armbands, etc.
A/V requirements: Microphone for speaker and the audience members, depending on venue size. Though not required, an LCD projector and screen suitable to display a PowerPoint presentation is requested and makes for a more interesting talk. For that, a computer that can accept a USB flash drive is required, but the power point can be shown with either a Mac or PC.
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Optional “A La Carte” Events
The Law (and Life) After Tinker
The 1969 Supreme Court Tinker decision is commonly acknowledged as something of a high-watermark for student free speech rights in America. This session will address the Supreme Court’s 1988 Hazelwood decision and other cases involving student media, as well as off-campus and Internet-based student expression.
About this talk: 45-50 minutes, mostly discussion.
Mary Beth Tinker Continued….
It’s not often you get to talk to someone straight out of your history book. Join Mary Beth after her general presentation for a follow-up discussion about her experience, and yours. Court rulings since Tinker and current students’ rights issues will be addressed.
About this Talk: This flexible session can be repeated as often as time allows, and works well in a classroom setting or as part of an informal lunchtime chat with students and/or teachers.
A/V requirements: None
Tinker Tour Roundtable
In 1965, Mary Beth changed the world with a simple black armband. You’ve heard from her. Now, we want to hear from you. There is a lot going on the world right now. What issues are most important to you and your classmates, locally and globally? What can be done? What are you doing? Do you feel free to talk about and address these issues? How are you using the First Amendment? Mary Beth uses this session to turn the cameras and microphones around to share your stories via the Tinker Tour blog and social media.
About this Talk: Small groups (maximum about 30 students) ready and willing to speak out preferred. Can be lunch event.
A/V requirements: None. However, we’d love student help in recording this event. (The student videographer will receive creative credit in subsequent use of the material.)
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Click here for Mary Beth’s bio and photo.
Click here for the Tinker Tour Media Kit.