LEP Final Assessment Mallory Denny

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District

1. Identify Critical Concepts:

The main issue in this case was a student’s freedom of speech at school. In 1965, students at a Des Moines school wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. When asked to remove the armbands, the students refused. As a result, they were suspended. The students and parents sued the district for violation of their First Amendment right, freedom of speech. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the students. The court said students and teachers don't "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” However, the court did not give students free range to express themselves however they wanted. As long as an act of expression wasn’t disrupting classwork or school activities, or as long as it didn’t invade the rights of others, it would be considered acceptable. Regarding this case in particular, "their deviation consisted only in wearing on their sleeve a band of black cloth," the Court said. "They caused discussion outside of the classrooms, but no interference with work and no disorder." Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District continues to be a frequently-cited Court precedent today. In Morse v. Frederick, the Court referred to the Tinker case and ruled in favor of Morse, because like Tinker, Morse was not causing a disturbance. This case is important because even though it was decided in 1969, it is still used today across the country to protect students’ right of Freedom of Speech.



2. Teacher Actions

As a result of this case, students are allowed to express themselves in many ways – piercings, hair color, and clothing with messages on it. As educators, we must balance two ideas, the need for a safe, orderly school environment conducive to learning and the guaranteed American entitlement to speak or engage in expressive activity. Known as the Tinker Test, the court ruling allowed schools to prohibit students from Freedom of Speech if there was the chance of a disruptive response.

Examples of what is okay and what is not:

OK: Allowing a student to wear a T-shirt that says “I oppose the war on terrorism.” Political statements are permitted in a school environment.

WRONG: Making the student change or cover the shirt because it contains a political message, or because school officials, a majority of students, or the community agree with deployment of troops.

OK: Exercising editorial control and screening articles for a school-sponsored newspaper. Because such publications bear the implied message of school backing, officials have a right to filter the content.

WRONG: Punishing a student for distributing publications when they are complying with policy and not endangering the safety of other students or employees. If school officials establish the time, place, and manner in which student publications can be distributed they must stick with it. Unless the brochure or pamphlet crosses the line of being inappropriate, public school employees cannot squelch the message simply because they disagree. The Constitution protects unpopular views. If a student is peacefully giving out flyers and following the school rule, then there should be no consequences.

OK: Reprimanding a teacher for cursing out a colleague or a student. Aggressive, vulgar speech meant to provoke rarely wins First Amendment protection.

WRONG: Transferring a principal who says the K-12 curriculum of the school district is not rigorous. Criticisms that are in the public interest are usually sheltered.



3. Diversity

The Tinker case has been brought up in cases of school uniforms and “dress and grooming” policies. Many students express their diversity through the way they dress and present themselves, and feel that uniforms and dress codes are an infringement upon their First Amendment right. Teachers must first determine if the students’ learning environment is safe or if a disruption may occur. If there is no chance of a disruption and the classroom is truly inclusive, all students, regardless of what they are wearing or believe in, will be welcomed into the room. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and should be able to share those opinions respectfully with others. The First Amendment is not subject to a popularity contest, and in fact is meant to protect less popular views.

4. Technology

As a way to integrate technology into this case, I would have students research different cases regarding students and Freedom of Speech. They could find examples of cases where the students won cases or where schools won cases. Students would then present their research creatively in the form of an iMovie. Students could then use these iMovie clips as educational tools when they are exercising their own rights to Freedom of Speech.

SAMR Level: Modification – Common classroom tasks are being accomplished through the use of computer technology. Students could stand in front of the class and read a report from a piece of paper, but that would be uninteresting to most. With an iMovie, students can add music, images, graphics, and transitions to capture an audience’s attention.

5. Student Benefits

Students are allowed a reasonable amount of Freedom of Speech while at school. They are able to express themselves through a variety of mediums as long as it is peaceful and responsible. The First Amendment is meant to protect everyone’s views, even the less popular ones. Both teachers and students benefit from this case.

Vergara v. California

Teacher Professional Rights and Responsibilities

Vergara v.California

1. Identify Critical Concepts

Beginning in 2012, nine students from California took this case to court. “We think it’s simple: reward and retain excellent teachers and hold those accountable who are failing our children.” They wished to get rid of the Permanent Employment Statute, Dismissal Statutes, and the LIFO Statute. The students believed these statutes were protecting insufficient teachers from dismissal, and in return, hindering students’ learning. The students lost their case, and the Supreme Court’s decision placed the responsibility for improving the state’s teacher retention, evaluation and dismissal laws squarely with the California Legislature. This case is significant for teachers, especially in California, because it protects their jobs. I think if the plaintiffs would have prevailed in this case, it would have resulted in a snowball effect in other states.



2. Teacher Actions

Had the Vergara ruling been upheld, teachers at unionized schools would no longer be entitled to a rare level of job security. The appellate court said that eliminating tenure and seniority would result in a lower-quality teaching, and that “the profession would attract and retain fewer talented people who have other career options.” Because of this overturned ruling, teachers in California can rely on their tenure as a sense of job security. Now educators must not take advantage of this ruling. We must prove that the statutes our states have in place to protect us are not taken for granted. We cannot slack in our career field. If we do, it is not us that suffer the consequences, but our students. To me, this ruling is really stating that the state of California believes in its educators and the experience they bring with them.



3. Diversity

The more experience a teacher has, the greater the impact he or she has on student performance. Therefore, I feel like the more experience a teacher has, the better equipped he or she will be to manage a diverse inclusive classroom.

4. Technology

In regards to this case, I would have students perform regular anonymous performance surveys over my teaching. This would allow me to self-reflect and make sure students feel like I am being fair, providing them with an adequate education, and meeting all of their educational needs while in my care.

SAMR Level: Modification – Common classroom tasks are being accomplished through the use of computer technology. I would use an online resource to create the quiz. Students would access and submit it on a computer or iPad, rather than traditional paper and pencil.

5. Student Benefits

I think this case brought to attention that teachers are not always safe because of tenure. If students can bring this much attention to the matter in California, it can happen anywhere. This benefits students because if I were a teacher when this case came to lights, I would be afraid my students might feel the same way. I would start self-reflecting on my teaching and ensuring my students were getting the very best education they possibly could.

Barrow County School District v. Payne

Teacher Personal Rights andRresponsibilities

Barrow County School District v. Payne

1. Identify Critical Concepts

Ashley Payne was a high school English teacher who was forced to resign after posting photos from her vacation of alcohol on her personal Facebook page. Payne lost her case, and her termination was upheld. In today’s world, social media is huge. This case is important for teachers because it proves teachers are expected to uphold the school’s standards at all times, even on our personal, private pages. If we do not, it may be grounds for termination. Educators have to be careful about the messages they are sending at all times. We never know who is watching.



2. Teacher Actions

This case just proves the impact social media has on today’s society. Students look up to educators as role models. We must ensure we are always exhibiting positive examples for students. We never know who is watching. Dr. Jerome Delaney, who teaches legal education courses at Memorial University of Newfoundland, gives this advice: "My advice to [future teachers] would be don't say anything there, or don't put up pictures on these things that you wouldn't be comfortable showing in the classroom — once it's out there, it doesn't come back."

I found a list of social media rules for educators.

1. Know your school, county, and state’s social media guidelines for employees. There may already be rules set in place by your employer regarding status updates, profile pictures, and more.

2. Do not “friend” or “follow” students on your personal social media accounts! Implement a rule that students can follow or friend you once they graduate.

3. Keep your profile pictures clean. Your profile picture should never show alcohol, drugs, or anything that can be misconstrued as a gang. Even if you have your profile locked down for privacy, your profile picture can still appear on search engines.

4. Do not affiliate yourself with your school on a personal profile. List your employment as “Teacher at XXX County Schools” or not at all.

5. Do not geo-tag your posts from or about school. This will lead students right to your posts.

6. Remember, it is possible to take a screen shot of Snapchat. “Snaps” or Snapchat posts can last forever.

7. Set your Instagram account to private. That way, you must approve of anyone who views your posts. 8. Never mention your school in any post. Even with privacy settings, your post could be found on search engines.

9. Never complain about your job online, especially if you are followed by your school and/or co-workers. This is good practice for all professionals, not just teachers!

10. Never, ever, ever post photos of your students on social media! Each parent has their own personal beliefs about posting their child’s likeness online. Some parents overshare while others don’t want their children online at all. It is not your place to post their children online. You are also violating a student’s privacy by doing this. Not only are you sharing their location information (if your location/school is listed in your profile, that child is now associated with that location/school), they may not feel comfortable having photos of themselves online.



3. Diversity

Student diversity does not apply to a teacher’s personal life and/or social media accounts

4. Technology

First, I would get parent permission before we began this activity. Students would watch a video discussing social media concepts and guidelines. After reviewing the guidelines, they would create a social media posting and post their top 5 tips for other students. If parents do not give their student permission to use or create a social media account, they can create an Adobe Spark Video with their tips.

SAMR Level: Modification – Common classroom tasks are being accomplished through the use of computer technology. Students could have used the traditional paper and pencil, but instead, we will utilize technology.

5. Student Benefits

Because of situations like the one Ashley Payne was involved in, teachers are now expected to use good judgement when posting to social media. Students look up to teachers as role-models both in and out of the school setting. If teachers monitor what they post online, they won’t have to worry about incorrect or inappropriate rumors circulating about them, and they certainly won’t have to worry about forced resignations if they follow the social media suggestions I listed above.

Created By
Mallory Denny


Created with images by SALi-design - "confetti_scan_1600x1200"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.