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Students, join movement to make change:
Mary Beth Tinker

Posted by on Mar 19, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 3 comments

 

Mary Beth Tinker claps her hands while sining a song to high school students in the grand ball room on Tuesday October 1, 2013 at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. The engagement was part of the Mary Beth Tinker Bus Tour.(Photo by David Dermer)

by Mary Beth Tinker
The student uprising for safer gun laws is going to rock gun culture to its core.  It already has.

As it does, student journalists will be on the front lines, proving again they are not only the future, but the present.  In this, they also have an opportunity to join with student leaders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland who promote youth voices often left out of student journalism, those of low income students of color.

This week, Parkland students met with students from Chicago, where gun death is  epidemic. Students discussed how gun tragedies affect their very different communities.

“Those who face gun violence on a level that we have only just glimpsed from our gated communities have never had their voices heard in their entire lives the way that we have in these few weeks alone.” –– Emma Gonzalez, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Parkland student leader

Emma Gonzalez, a student leader at Parkland tweeted,  “Those who face gun violence on a level that we have only just glimpsed from our gated communities have never had their voices heard in their entire lives the way that we have in these few weeks alone.”

Emma made a commitment to share the platform  Parkland students have established with “every person, black or white, gay or straight, religious or not, who has experienced gun violence,” saying “hand in hand, side by side, We Will Make This Change Together.”

In Baltimore, hundreds of students from different racial and economic backgrounds joined in a  walkout March 6 for a march to City Hall in protest of gun violence.  They expressed solidarity with Excel Academy, where seven students have been killed by guns in the last two years.

David Hogg, a student leader at MSD who is also a leader in broadcast journalism there,  tweeted words of support, saying “Yeah Baltimore!!!!!!!! Let’s do this !”

‘Tinker Tour’ finds common fears, causes among students
Last week, as part of my “Tinker Tour” to schools around the country, I visited with students at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Ward 8 of Washington DC. According to its website, “almost 100 percent” of the students in school are African American and 75 percent qualify for free lunches.

Students at Thurgood Marshall have lost two classmates this year from gun violence, Zaire and Paris.  Zaire’s twin brother, Zion, told me his brother was killed by a person wearing a prison ankle bracelet, and there should be more limits on who can get guns. Washington DC has strict gun laws, but guns flow in from elsewhere.

Zion’s father testified at President Trump’s ‘listening tour’ on gun violence, saying his tragedy began on Sept. 20 and the family struggles to recover from their grief.

Students at Thurgood Marshall Academy won’t express any of this in their school newspaper or in broadcast journalism class. Like most Washington DC students, they don’t have a journalism program. In fact, only a handful of high schools in Washington DC do.

One is Wilson High, where students at the award winning Beacon decided to do s

omething about that. With The Paper Project, student journalists at Wilson meet with students at schools where there is no journalism program to share skills and help with publications. They raise money through student fundraisers and contributions.

Too often, young people must endure policies they have had absolutely no part in making.  Funding for journalism is one. For some, cuts to journalism budgets are retaliation for articles. For others, journalism education was never an option to begin with. As I travel the country to schools and communities, that is most often the case, with  a “sliding scale”  for First Amendment rights, particularly student press.

Bringing these voices together as an issue in civics
Frank LoMonte, past director of the Student Press Law Center, advocates for an increased connection between civics and journalism, natural partners for an active citizenry. But, civics education shares the same gap that afflicts journalism education.

The Civic Mission of Schools, a coalition of civics organizations, cites this disparity and attributes it to an education system that a provides “far fewer and lower-quality civic learning opportunities to minority and low-income students.”

Despite all of this, young people find their voices and make them heard.

You can hear one of them, Jonothan Gray, in a powerful twitter video highlighting the coverage to gun violence in schools (mostly white students) compared to that out of school (mostly kids of color). Jonathan says in Baltimore, like so may places, gun violence “has become the norm.”

At a stop at Kent State University during her Tinker Tour in 2013, Mary Beth checks out the May 4 Visitors Center. Members of Ohio’s National Guard shot and killed four students in 1970 during a time of national protests against the Vietnam War. Photo by John Bowen.

Great movements begin from civic awareness, student voices
From great tragedy come great movements. The civil rights movement, also a story of the free press, was surely one. The current movement by students for safer gun laws, with walkouts and plans for rallies throughout the country Marcy 24 will be a story of the free press as well.

When I was 13 and in eighth grade in 1965, like the students, I was moved to action by great tragedy and great journalists. I watched the horrors of the Vietnam unfold on the evening news, with Walter Cronkite giving a daily “body count” to keep track.

A group of us in Des Moines, Iowa, including my brother, John, wore black armbands to mourn the dead and to promote a Christmas truce being proposed by Senator Robert Kennedy.

For doing that,  we were suspended.

The American Civil Liberties Union took our case to the Supreme Court, and in 1969, the Court ruled that neither “students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

The ruling was chipped away by three later rulings, with “Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier” in 1988 targeting student journalists and being the most harmful.

Young people are on the move.
They are winning in the court of public opinion, and they are winning laws to affirm the rights of young journalists through the New Voices movement.  Washington state is the latest, with the legislature voting for student journalists’ rights.

By coming together, young people will also win victories against gun violence. When they do, student journalists and advisers have a real opportunity to advance the First Amendment for all youth across the country.

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In case you missed Mary Beth Tinker
students provide solid coverage

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Editor’s note: The following is the introduction to Mary Beth Tinker at Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif. It is used here with permission in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Kavleen Singh, co-editor-in-chief, The Roar introduced Mary Beth Tinker and the Tinker tour April 1  at Whitney High School.
Here is her speech:
We listen, we read, and we speak. How do we do all of that? With words. The string of sounds and syllables we convert into meaningful messages is the most prominent outlet in expressing one’s thoughts.
There’s great power that comes with the mastery of words, and it can cause a massive uproar. Just over the past few years, Egypt and Tunisia incited a revolution that was fueled through Twitter and Facebook. Both social media outlets are traversed with words. But here in the United States, we have a protection for words that many countries unfortunately do not. We have the First Amendment.
It is through the 45 words of the First Amendment that we are granted a voice in society, free to speak our minds and participate in a melting pot of diverse opinions and clash constructively with others. There have been challenges throughout history regarding the First Amendment, and few are more prominent than that of the 1969 Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines. As a freshman in Journalism I class, I learned about the Tinker case and how the courage of Mary Beth Tinker led to the high court setting a precedent that would forever impact students. In the decision, Justice Abe Fortas said, “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
Now, as I stand before you as editor-in-chief and a much more experienced journalist, I can better appreciate that protection. In my four years with Whitney High Student Media, we have reported on two teacher arrests, bullying, online privacy, struggles with sexuality, smoking, body image, suicide, depression and a variety of other stories important to our readers. I am grateful for the freedom of speech and of the press afforded to us by the First Amendment and the California Educational Code that supports us in this responsibility. I also am grateful to have the resources available from the Student Press Law Center and to know that outside the gates of our school, other journalists are working just as hard to tell the important stories at their school — stories that take courage to find, hear, and deliver with fairness and accuracy to help improve communities and their audiences all around the world.
It is my honor and absolute pleasure to present free speech activist Mary Beth Tinker.
– Kavleen Singh, co-editor-in-chief, The Roar
Whitney High Student Media; Rocklin, Calif.

Journalism students at Whitney also published Storify coverage of the Tinker Tour here. Consider using Storify as another way to report events. News coverage can be read here and photo gallery coverage here .

The Tinker Tour also stopped April 2 at Monta Vista High School, and included a panel discussion with Tinker, Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center and Nick Ferentinos, retired adviser whose students won a post-Hazelwood censorship battle. Two Monta Vista students who successfully defied a subpoena earlier this year using the California shield laws also spoke.

Tomorrow, April 3, journalism students will  live stream the Tinker Tour assembly from Convent of the Sacred Heart HS in San Francisco at 10:45 PDT. At the end, student journalists will take questions hashtagged #TinkerTourSF via Twitter.

Coverage can be accessed here.
For those of you in PRIVATE SCHOOLS, this is your chance to get in questions specific to your situation. (But everyone else should feel free to logon, too
For those in PRIVATE SCHOOLS, this is your chance to get in questions specific to your situation.
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The Tinkers return to their roots

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments

MBT-60s

Mary Beth Tinker at Kent State University during the Tinker Tour. Today, she returned to her middle school in Des Moines, Iowa.

Mary Beth and John Tinker returned to Des Moines, Iowa, today as part of the national Tinker Tour to celebrate student rights and to show students they can make a difference.

The Tinkers were the plaintiffs in the landmark 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision that students do not leave their rights at the schoolhouse gate. They returned to Des Moines and their respective schools from which they were suspended welcomed by school officials and spoke to students and community members.

For Storify coverage, go here.

 

Superintendent of Des Moines Schools, Thomas Ahart, shown with Mary Beth and John Tinker, said students in the system are safe to wear armbands today as he prepares to wear one.

Superintendent of Des Moines Schools, Thomas Ahart, shown with Mary Beth and John Tinker, said students in the system are safe to wear armbands today as he prepares to wear one.

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The time is now

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments

MaryBeth1a

Mary Beth Tinker addresses student and advisers at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association awards banquet April 5. (photo by Melinda Yoho)

Individuals and groups still have one day to help ensure The Tinker Tour: The Power of an Armband happens next fall. The “Tinker Tour” is a bus trip across the country to promote youth voices, free speech and a free press.

The tour’s goal, according to Mary Beth Tinker, tour organizer and plaintiff in the landmark Tinker v DesMoines U. S. Supreme Court decision, is to ” bring real-life civics lessons to schools and communities through my story and those of other young people.”

Every journalism student in the country has a real stake in seeing this tour happen, even to the point of bring it to their schools or home towns.

Tinker and co-organizer Mike Hiestand, who assisted countless media students and advisers as a consulting attorney for the Student Press Law Center,  hope to start the tour on Constitution Day next fall and spend three to six months touring, depending on funding.

hazelwoodcolorPledging your financial support within the next 31 days will enable your funds to be matched by StartSomeGood, a crowdsourcing fundraiser.

Find out about the Tinker Tour here.

To donate to the Tinker Tour, go here.

As Mary Beth says in her appeal for support, “I made a difference with a simple, black armband. Can you imagine what a 13-year-old could do today with all of the extraordinary speech tools available?”

Join her and the others who believe in student expression as a tool for civic engagement in supporting the Tinker Tour.

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Support the Tinker Tour

Posted by on Apr 30, 2013 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments

MaryBeth1a

Mary Beth Tinker addresses student and advisers at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association awards banquet April 5. (photo by Melinda Yoho)

Individuals and groups still have 31 days to help ensure The Tinker Tour: The Power of an Armband happens next fall. The “Tinker Tour” is a bus trip across the country to promote youth voices, free speech and a free press.

The tour’s goal, according to Mary Beth Tinker, tour organizer and plaintiff in the landmark Tinker v DesMoines U. S. Supreme Court decision, is to ” bring real-life civics lessons to schools and communities through my story and those of other young people.”

Every journalism student in the country has a real stake in seeing this tour happen, even to the point of bring it to their schools or home towns.

hazelwoodcolorTinker and co-organizer Mike Hiestand, who assisted countless media students and advisers as a consulting attorney for the Student Press Law Center,  hope to start the tour on Constitution Day next fall and spend three to six months touring, depending on funding.

Pledging your financial support within the next 31 days will enable your funds to be matched by StartSomeGood, a crowdsourcing fundraiser.

Find out about the Tinker Tour here.

To donate to the Tinker Tour, go here.

As Mary Beth says in her appeal for support, “I made a difference with a simple, black armband. Can you imagine what a 13-year-old could do today with all of the extraordinary speech tools available?”

Join her and the others who believe in student expression as a tool for civic engagement in supporting the Tinker Tour.

Read More