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The National Education already own network presents a law in the news with Professor Joseph R. Jule an associate dean of the University of Michigan Law School. The United States Supreme Court has a case for decision which could well define the precise legal status of student demonstrations on both college and high school campuses. Whether you're fed up with the mass meetings so frequently reported in the press and think it's about time students limited their activities to the classroom or whether on the other hand you believe that we're entering a golden age of education since students are at long last really manifesting a concern about the world. The decision in Tinker against the morning independent community school district should be of interest. The controversy before the court stems from a series of events beginning in December of 965 during that month. It came to the attention of certain school officials that several students intended to wear black armbands for the purpose of expressing their dissent. The war in Vietnam. The defendant school district
promulgated a regulation barring the armbands. Nevertheless the plaintiffs in this action now before our highest court were the armbands to school in order so they testified to mourn those having died in the war and to support a then pending proposal that the forthcoming truce be extended indefinitely. Each pupil violating the school regulation was dismissed and did not return to school until after Christmas and then without the armbands. The issue put to the court an issue with potentially broad ramifications is whether for getting this kind of silent demonstration deprive the students of constitutional rights secured by the freedom of speech clause of the First Amendment. The federal judge hearing the case in the trial court upheld the school board's regulation in his opinion he stated. Officials of the defendant school district have the responsibility for maintaining a scholarly disciplined atmosphere within the classroom and not only have a right but an obligation to prevent anything which might be disruptive of such an
atmosphere. Judge Stevenson then concluded unless school officials are unreasonable and the courts should not interfere. A position often heard when the courts have been asked to rule on other school regulations. This case does however involve rights of greater value than those involved in the long hair mini skirt issue discussed here some weeks ago. Free speech while not absolute is certainly a right of special value in a free society and increasing number of cases have been decided by the lower federal courts in recent years. These courts having reviewed the extent to which the First and Fourteenth Amendments protect public and high school students to demonstrate on campus in behalf of particular political beliefs. In a case arising in the Fifth Circuit a court of appeals having jurisdiction over the southern states public school children were held constitutionally protected in the wearing freedom buttons there in that case being no evidence that these buttons caused material or substantial disruption.
An Alabama federal court at the trial level ordered a student reinstated following his suspension for failure to comply with the state college president's order that he was not to print an editorial critical of the president. On the other hand barring of the Freedom buttons was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals where the record supported a finding that the buttons in that school precipitated an unusual degree of commotion boisterous conduct collision with the rights of others and the undermining of authority. But the United States Supreme Court has yet to speak on school regulations involving free speech claims. What about conduct involving physical acts. Is the constitutional guideline regulations to be valid must be reasonable under the circumstances or must authorities show a clear and present danger. Or some like more rigorous than reasonably necessary base for the limitation of political expression in our schools. To what extent does the minority of the persons involved or within those under
the legal age the youth justify restrictions on modes of expression which would be constitutionally offensive if applied to adults where freedom of expression is involved. How much should courts defer to educators judgment as to what may or may not adversely affect the educational environment. And as important should a ban on arm bands. The issue in the case before the Supreme Court be viewed as properly upheld on the grounds that since non protesting children are required as they are by law to attend classes wear armbands are being worn. Have a right not to be exposed as a captive audience to the protest. This is a time when it's important to know just what authority school officials have. Only then can intelligent judgments be made on difficult issues. Issues which require the balancing of freedoms we consider inviolate and the need for a sane educational environment.
Law in the news
Student protest and the law
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In program number 391, Joseph R. Julin talks about student protests and the law.
Other Description
This series focuses on current news stories that relate to the law.
Broadcast Date
Public Affairs
Politics and Government
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Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Speaker: Julin, Joseph R.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-35a-391 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:05:25
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Chicago: “Law in the news; Student protest and the law,” 1968-12-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 11, 2022,
MLA: “Law in the news; Student protest and the law.” 1968-12-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 11, 2022. <>.
APA: Law in the news; Student protest and the law. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from