1965 as a protest against the Vietnam war, students along with their parents
decided on dec. 16 and New Year's Eve they would wear black armbands.
On December 14 the school stated that any student wearing an armband on
the sixteenth would be asked to remove it or be suspended. The students
were suspended for wearing the armbands, however the majority wore their
armbands on a day other than the sixteenth. The courts favored the
side of the school in the lower courts.
Ruling: The Supreme Court 7:2 stated that the
student's rights had been violated. The Court's opinion was written
by Justice Abe Fortas
"It can hardly argued that either
students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech
or the expression at the schoolhouse gate... On the other hand, the Court
has repeatedly emphasized the need for affirming the comprehensive authority
of the States and of school officials, consistent with fundamental constitutional
safeguards, to prescribe and control conduct in the schools...."
"If a regulation were adopted by
the school officials forbidding discussion of the Vietnam conflict, or
the expression by any student of opposition to it anywhere on school property
except as part of a prescribed classroom exercise, it would be obvious
that the regulation would materially and substantially disrupt the work
and discipline of the school"
"In our system, students may not
be regarded as closed-circuit recipients of only that which the state chooses
to communicate. They may not be confined to the expression of those
sentiments that are officially approved.
"the wearing of armbands in the
circumstances of this case was entirely divorced from actually or potentially
disruptive conduct by those participating in it. It was closely akin
to 'pure speech' which, we have repeatedly held, is entitled to comprehensive
protection under the First Amendment."