What Was the Impact of Tinker V. Des Moines?

According to The New York Times, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District had a major impact on many lower court rulings concerning the rights of teens to free speech and self-expression. Because of the Tinker ruling, students have been free to wear dyed hair and nose rings in public schools.

While the Tinker ruling has had some positive effects on free expression in high schools, according to The New York Times, it does not give students unlimited rights in this area. The impact of these limitations has been brought before the courts, with school districts winning on grounds that they have a right to place limits on certain types of expression. One example is the case of 17-year-old Matthew Fraser, who was suspended from high school after delivering a speech heavily peppered with vulgar language. The court sided with the school in finding that it had every right to find this language offensive in a public setting.

In an article for The Atlantic, David Wheeler discusses the challenges of protecting the free speech rights of high school students in the digital age. Wheeler notes that Mary Tinker, the woman who sparked the Tinker case decades ago, is now an advocate for preserving “democratized speech,” which she considers to be an important right for students.