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Video: Mary Beth Tinker urges students to understand and use free speech rights

Published March 28, 2014 8:14 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Mary Beth Tinker has a message for young adults in Utah and around the world:

"It's their world. They need to take stands and they need to know their rights," she said in an interview. "My role is to encourage them to use their right with respect and care."

Tinker, a First Amendment advocate, has brought her "Tinker Tour" to Utah this weekend. She planned to address high school students at Sandy's Alta High School Friday, and will be a keynote speaker Saturday at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 9 Conference at the Brigham Young University Salt Lake Center.

That event is open to anyone with an interest in journalism who is willing to pay the conference's $35 registration fee.

More information and online registration is available here.

As a 13-year-old Iowa schoolgirl in 1965, Tinker joined a small group of students in wearing black armbands to school to mourn soldiers killed on both sides of the Vietnam War. When their Des Moines school prohibited the students from wearing the bands, they fought all the way to U.S. Supreme Court and won.

The 1969 Tinker decision became the standard against which most other student First Amendment cases are judged.

Identifying themselvers as the Tinker Tour, Tinker and the Student Press Law Center's Mike Hiestand are touring the country this school year to teach young people about the First Amendment and civic responsibility.