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Law Day 2014 --
American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters
2014 JTI Dates:
The Silent Protest
Students Against War v. Liberty High School
Last October, three students at Liberty High School decided to protest the war in Afghanistan by wearing black armbands. The students informed the principal ahead of time that they would be wearing armbands, and the principal told them it was not a good idea. Upon hearing the news of a possible student protest using armbands, the school developed a policy prohibiting students from wearing armbands.
The next week, the students entered class wearing plain black armbands about an inch wide on their right arms. Upon seeing these students, the principal had them brought to the office immediately. The students were suspended from school for two weeks for breaking school rules.
The three students filed a lawsuit claiming that their silent protest was protected under the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment and that stopping it was illegal. The students felt that the school had violated their constitutional rights.
TRIAL COURT PROCEEDINGS & RULING:
The students appealed the district court’s decision to the Florida Supreme Court, which now stands ready to hear arguments on both sides of this issue.
Constitutional Question the Justices Must Answer:
Did the school violate the students’ First Amendment right to free speech by stopping their silent protest?
RESOURCES & BACKGROUND MATERIALS:
Based on the United States Supreme Court Case Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969).