Vietnam War: Establishing Student Speech Rights

On Wednesday, local district schools walked out during protests, and they have since then attracted responses from educational leaders. According to Joe Olivenbaum, a Quinnipiac University law professor, a Supreme Court case involving Vietnam War protests established a foundation for the people to express their rights in school. In 1969, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District created a right for the students to express their political views provided that the process would not disrupt school activities. In Tinker, students from junior high wore black armbands with peace symbols to protest the Vietnam War. There were a lot of opposition and rowdy teach-ins against the Vietnam War. Different people established different opinions about the war. Meriden Journal photos from Moratorium Day in 1969 prominently featured young people who were calling for an end to the war. Protesters at the Washington Park converged to listen to anti-war songs performed by Gary Rinkavage and later proceeded to City Hall.

The current generation of students are politically active, and there is need to accommodate and direct them. Dan Barrett, ACLU of Connecticut legal director, advised the leaders in schools to enforce provisions that require the students to remain inside during protests. He further requested them to avoid punishing the students who take part in the demonstrations but use this as an opportunity to teach them in proper civic engagement.


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