On Thursday, Nov. 19, free speech advocate Mary Beth Tinker will discuss students free speech and social justice.
Her presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 5 p.m. in the Barbieri Court Room.
Tinker was a 13-year-old plaintiff in the seminal case of Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) after she and a group of students were suspended for wearing black armbands to school in protest of the war in Vietnam. She and four other students were told they could not return to school until they agreed to remove their armbands. A four-year legal battle culminated in a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
In the 40 years since the Supreme Court protected Tinker’s symbolic speech, she has become a strong advocate for student free speech. She continues to educate young people by speaking to student groups across the county.
Tinker is the former director of the Marshal-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project at American University, which mobilizes law students to teach courses on constitutional law and juvenile justice at public schools. In 2006, the ACLU National Board of Directors renamed its youth affairs award the “Mary Beth Tinker Youth Involvement Award.”
As part of her visit to Spokane, Gonzaga Law School is also sponsoring her visits to local area high school students at Lewis and Clark and Rogers high schools. Her visit to the Spokane community is made possible by a coalition of organizations including the Gonzaga Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (via a generous donation from the ACLU of Washington), the William O. Douglas Committee, the Thomas More Program, and the Alliance for Social Justice.