One quiet day in the 1960’s 3 Des Moines students were wrongly punished for protesting the Vietnam War by wearing black arm bands to school. The school officials believed that the armbands would cause a huge disturbance and be a very big distraction to the student body. The students were then suspended. The student’s first amendment right had been violated. This right gives us the freedom of expression, to sum it all up, as long as others are not in danger. The staff was quick to punish these students, who were only exercising their rights.
I believe that the students that were involved in this case did not deserve to be punished because; in wearing armbands, the petitioners were quiet and passive. They were not disruptive and did not interfere with the rights of others. Therefore, their conduct was within the protection of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth. Also, “First Amendment rights are available to teachers and students, subject to application in light of the special characteristics of the school environment. ” (http://caselaw. p. findlaw. com/scripts/getcase. pl? court=us&vol=393&invol=503) Also, I believe that they did not deserve to be punished because; under our Constitution, free speech is not a right that is given only to be so restricted that it exists in principle but not in reality. Freedom of expression would not truly exist if the right could be exercised only in an area that a charitable government has provided as a safe haven for crackpots! The Constitution says that Congress (or anyone else, for that matter) may not deprive anyone the right to free speech.
You see, the thing is we properly read it to permit reasonable regulation of speech-connected activities in carefully restricted circumstances. But we do not confine the permissible exercise of First Amendment rights to a telephone booth or the four corners of a pamphlet. Lastly, I believe that students were wrongly treated because; “The constitutionality of the school authorities’ action was on the ground that it was reasonable in order to prevent disturbance of school discipline. ” (258 F. Supp. 971 1966).
The court referred to but declined to follow the Fifth Circuit’s holding in a similar case that, the wearing of symbols like the armbands cannot be prohibited unless it “materially and substantially interferes with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school. ” (Burnside v. Byars, 1966). In conclusion, The Students in this case were wrongly punished due to the fact that their first amendment right protected their freedom of expression. The pupils should not have been suspended just because of their difference in political views, and their courage to express them.