Is there a way to write her and give at least some verbal support by e-mail
from all over the world?
Jochen (Stuttgart, Germany)
----- Original Message -----
To: "sixties-l" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2001 8:38 AM
Subject: [sixties-l] John Tinker pledges support for pro-anarchy teen (fwd)
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 05 Dec 2001 22:52:53 -0800
> From: radtimes <email@example.com>
> Subject: John Tinker pledges support for pro-anarchy teen
> John Tinker pledges support for pro-anarchy teen
> By The Associated Press
> CHARLESTON, W.Va. ^ A former Sissonville High School student
> suspended in October for her anti-war, pro-anarchy stances has
> gained the support of a Vietnam War protester whose famous Supreme
> Court case helped protect students' rights.
> John Tinker made headlines after he wore a black armband at North
> High School in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1965 when an overwhelming
> majority of Americans supported the war effort in Vietnam.
> Four years later, the Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines
> Independent Community School District that Iowa school
> administrators should not have prohibited Tinker and other
> students from wearing armbands to school because they didn't cause
> widespread disruptions.
> The Tinker case became a landmark decision in the history of
> freedom of expression in America, said John Johnson, a Northern
> Iowa University professor who wrote a book called The Struggle for
> Student Rights: Tinker v. Des Moines and the 1960s.
> "It wasn't a popular position at the time, but it was a position
> that had a right to be heard," Johnson said in an interview last
> About 35 years later in West Virginia, Katie Sierra's lawyer
> argued that the Supreme Court's ruling in Tinker gave the
> 15-year-old the right to wear anti-war T-shirts to Sissonville
> High School.
> The school board's attorney, however, called Sierra's T-shirts
> "walking billboards" ^ she had scrawled numerous messages on
> them ^ and a "far cry" from the black armbands Tinker wore.
> Sierra lost round one in her court battle. A circuit judge
> prohibited her from wearing her shirts opposing America's bombing
> of Afghanistan.
> But the next day, she ripped apart some black cloth she found at
> home and trotted into Sissonville High wearing a black armband.
> A week later, she received e-mail from John Tinker. He's 51 now
> and a computer systems analyst living in a former elementary
> school in Missouri. He told her not to back down, to stand up for
> her beliefs and not to lose faith.
> Tinker has pledged to come to Charleston, if need be, to show his
> support. They continue to correspond by e-mail.
> "He said he'd be in the front row of the courtroom," Sierra said.
> Sierra, meanwhile, has faced a barrage of insults. Students
> elbowed her and shoved her into her locker, she said. They spit on
> her mother's car. They shouted "freak" at her. They chanted "USA!
> Sierra said she never intended to disrupt school. She said she
> wasn't seeking attention.
> But with her T-shirts came a request to start an anarchy club.
> During a school board meeting in October, Sierra read a dictionary
> definition of anarchy, which included the word "terrorism."
> In court documents, school officials acknowledged they couldn't
> ensure Sierra's safety, short of putting her in "lock-down." They
> said Sierra's actions had disrupted learning at Sissonville High.
> Last week, West Virginia's Supreme Court refused to intervene in
> the case.
> Sierra's mother, meanwhile, has pulled her from the school out of
> fear for her safety.
> Sierra has enrolled in a program in which she stays at home and
> completes class work on a computer.
> "This girl needs immediate relief," said Dan Johnston, a lawyer
> who represented Tinker and other Iowa students during the 1960s.
> "She's a victim. It's important to get her back into school.
> "The school board has it backward. If they can't control their
> schools, then they need new school officials."
> In Tinker, Johnston successfully argued that Iowa school officials
> had a double standard.
> They allowed high school students to wear buttons endorsing
> political candidates. They also permitted them to wear the German
> Iron Cross. But they banned black armbands.
> At Sissonville High, students have pinned red, white and blue
> ribbons to their shirts since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World
> Trade Center and Pentagon. They have waved small American flags at
> school assemblies. They have worn shirts opposing Osama bin Laden.
> But school officials wouldn't allow Sierra to criticize the
> American government or express her statements for peace. "You
> can't allow one kind of speech and not allow others," said
> Johnston, now a lawyer in New York.
> It doesn't make a difference, he said, that Tinker's armbands were
> "symbolic speech" and Sierra's T-shirts spouted written messages.
> "If the purpose is to convey a message, then it's speech," he
> Tinker said Sissonville administrators kicked Sierra out of school
> because they didn't like her views. That's wrong, he said.
> "It's the issue of the importance of protecting the unpopular
> view," Tinker said. "That's what makes the First Amendment what it
> is. Otherwise it would just be meaningless."
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