Document Type

Introductory Essay


Some Thoughts on the Nature of Student Rights


Note: This article was originally written as the keynote address for the Constitutional Law Symposium at Drake University Law School, October 8, 1999. It was published in the Drake Law Review [48 Drake L. Rev. 445, 462 (2000)]. It seeks to provide a brief historical context for students rights issues, then to discuss those issues in more detail, covering developments from the Tinker case to the “PostColumbine Backlash.” The article assumes some very basic familiarity with Tinker v. Des Moines[1], a case from 1969. The Des Moines School Board had banned the wearing of black armbands by students (in this case indicating mourning for soldiers and civilians killed in Vietnam). The U.S. Supreme Court declared the ban invalid, stating that “students may not be confined to the expression of those sentiments that are officially approved.” I have omitted those sections of the original article which discuss the connections of the case with Drake University Law School, and other matters of local interest to the Drake community. Otherwise, changes made are solely for conciseness and continuity. Though Strossen’s original paper covered only up to the PostColumbine [2] backlash in 1999, she has provided a brief, summary update of the student rights situation which can be found here in her conclusion. —Daniel Larner



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

High school students--Civil rights--United States; Freedom of speech--United States; Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Iowa--DesMoines

Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Tinker, John Frederick--Trials, litigation, etc.; Des Moines Independent Community School District--Trials, litigation, etc.

Geographic Coverage

Des Moines (Iowa); United States







Included in

Education Commons