December 15 is Bill of Rights Day

from –bill-of-rights

Does freedom of speech protect the right to wear protest armbands at school?

Yes it does – Held by Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) – To protest the Vietnam War, Mary Beth Tinker and her brother wore black armbands to school. Fearing a disruption, the administration prohibited wearing such armbands. The Tinkers were removed from school when they failed to comply, but the Supreme Court ruled that their actions were protected by the First Amendment.

Do school administrators need a warrant to search a student suspected of wrongdoing?

No they do not – Held by New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) – A teacher accused T.L.O. of smoking in the bathroom. When she denied the allegation, the principal searched her purse and found cigarettes and marijuana paraphernalia. A family court declared T.L.O. a delinquent. The Supreme Court ruled that her rights were not violated since students have reduced expectations of privacy in school.

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, celebrating the day that the Constitution’s first 10 Amendments were ratified in 1791. The Educational Resources section of gives students and others a refresher on our Constitutional freedoms today, focusing on landmark federal court cases.

The Bill of Rights’ impact on young people is the focus of courtroom-ready and classroom-ready activities that lay out what is and is not permitted under the:

In a 2½-minute video(link is external), high school students relate specific Amendments and rights to their experiences and beliefs. Material on the Miranda v. Arizona case, which expanded rights under the Fifth Amendment, will be the theme of 2016 Law Day, “Miranda: Not Just Words.”

For additional resources on Bill of Rights Day, see this Federal Judges Association page(link is external), and the Civics Renewal Network(link is external).


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