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"D.M. Schools Ban Wearing of Viet Truce Armbands" Newspaper Article, December 15, 1965

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The short article appeared in the Des Moines Register regarding Des Moines Public Schools students’ ability to wear arm bands in support of a truce in Vietnam.
Courtesy of National Archives, Magarrell, Jack, "D.M. Schools Ban Wearing of Viet Truce Armbands" The Des Moines Register, 15 December 1965


This article from The Des Moines Register was entered as defendants' Exhibit 2 in John F. Tinker et. al. v. The Des Moines Independent Community School District et. al. It describes the decision of Des Moines, Iowa, school officials to ban students from wearing black armbands to school in support of a Vietnam War truce. A group of junior high and high school students had decided to wear black armbands from December 16 until New Year's Day to peacefully express their "grief over the deaths of soldiers and civilians in Vietnam."

On December 14, Des Moines School District principals met and enacted a rule that "any student wearing an arm band would be asked to remove the arm band, and if he refused he would be suspended until he returned without the arm band." The policy was announced to all students on December 15, as well as reported in this newspaper article. Students Mary Beth Tinker, John Tinker, Christopher Eckhardt and two others were suspended after refusing to remove their black armbands when they arrived at school on December 16 and 17. About a dozen other students also wore armbands. Upon their suspensions, the Tinkers and Eckhardt refused to return to school until after New Year's Day – the intended period for wearing the armbands.

Transcript of "D.M. Schools Ban Wearing of Viet Truce Armbands" Article

Source-Dependent Questions

  • What was the principal's reaction to students standing up for the First Amendment?
  • Why were students suspended for wearing armbands?

Citation Information 

Magarrell, Jack, "D.M. Schools Ban Wearing of Viet Truce Armbands" The Des Moines Register, 15 December 1965. Courtesy of National Archives