MR. JUSTICE FORTAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Petitioner John F. Tinker, 15 years old, and petitioner Christopher
Eckhardt, 16 years old, attended high schools in Des Moines, Iowa. Petitioner
Mary Beth Tinker, John's sister, was a 13 year old student in junior high
In December 1965, a group of adults and students in Des Moines held a
meeting at the Eckhardt home. The group determined to publicize their
objections to the hostilities in Vietnam and their support for a truce by
wearing black armbands during the holiday season and by fasting on December 16
and New Year's Eve. Petitioners and their parents had previously engaged in
similar activities, and they decided to participate in the program.
The principals of the Des Moines schools became aware of the plan to wear
armbands. On December 14, 1965, they met and adopted a policy that any student
wearing an armband to school would be asked to remove it, and if he refused he
would be suspended until he returned without the armband.
On December 16, Mary Beth and Christopher wore black armbands to their
schools. John Tinker wore his armband the next day. They were all sent home and
suspended from school until they would come back without their armbands. They
did not return to school until after the planned period for wearing armbands
had expired that is, until after New Year's Day.
This complaint was filed in the United States District Court by petitioners,
through their fathers, under 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code. It
prayed for an injunction restraining the respondent school officials and the
respondent members of the board of directors of the school district from
disciplining the petitioners, and it sought nominal damages. After an
evidentiary hearing the District Court dismissed the complaint. 971 (1966). The
court referred to but expressly declined to follow the Fifth Circuit's holding
in a similar case that the wearing of symbols like the armbands cannot be
prohibited unless it "materially and substantially interfere[s] with the
requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school."
Burnside v. Byars, 363 F.2d 744, 749 (1966).
On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit considered the case
en banc. The court was equally divided, and the District Court's decision was
accordingly affirmed, without opinion. 383 F.2d 988 (1967). We granted
certiorari. See West Virginia v. 624 (1943); Stromberg v. 359 (1931). Cf.
Thornhill v. 88 (1940); Edwards v. 229 (1963); Brown v. 131 (1966). As we shall
discuss, the wearing of armbands in the circumstances of this case was entirely
divorced from actually or potentially disruptive conduct by those participating
in it. It was closely akin to "pure speech"  which, we have repeatedly
held, is entitled to comprehensive protection under the First Amendment. Cf.
Cox v. 536, 555 (1965); Adderley v. 39 (1966).
First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of
the school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly
be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to
freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. This has been the
unmistakable holding of this Court for almost 50 years. In Meyer v. 390 (1923),
and Bartels v. 404 (1923), this Court, in opinions by Mr. Justice McReynolds,
held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prevents States
from forbidding the teaching of a foreign language to young students. Statutes
to this effect, the Court held, unconstitutionally interfere with the liberty
of teacher, student, and parent. See also Pierce v. 510  (1925); West
Virginia v. 624 (1943); McCollum v. 203 (1948); Wieman v. 183, 195 (1952)
(concurring opinion); Sweezy v. 234 (1957); Shelton v. 479, 487 (1960); Engel
v. 421 (1962); Keyishian v. 589, 603 (1967); Epperson v. Arkansas, ante, p. 97
In West Virginia v. Barnette, supra, this Court held that under the First
Amendment, the student in public school may Fake Women Ray Ban Mirror
Sunglasses not be compelled to salute the flag. Speaking through Mr.
Justice Jackson, the Court said:
"The Fourteenth Amendment, as now applied to the States, protects the
citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures Boards of Education
not excepted. These have, of course, important, delicate, and highly
discretionary functions, but none that they may not perform within the limits
of the Bill of Rights. See Epperson v. Arkansas, supra, at 104; Meyer v.
Nebraska, supra, at 402.
The problem posed by the present case does not relate to regulation of the
length of skirts or the type of clothing,  to hair style, or deportment.
Cf. Ferrell v. Dallas Independent School District, 392 F.2d 697 (1968); Pugsley
v. Sellmeyer, 158 Ark. 247, 250 S. W. 538 (1923). It does not concern
aggressive, disruptive action Brian Hoyer Womens Jersey or even group
demonstrations. Our problem involves direct, primary First Amendment Authentic C.J. Fiedorowicz Jersey
rights akin to "pure speech."
The school officials banned and sought to punish petitioners for a silent,
passive expression of opinion, unaccompanied by any disorder or disturbance on
the part of petitioners. There is here no evidence whatever of petitioners'
interference, actual or nascent, with the schools' work or of collision with
the rights of other students to be secure and to be let alone. Accordingly,
this case does not concern speech or action that intrudes upon the work of the
schools or the rights of other students.
Only a few of the 18,000 students in the school system wore the black
armbands. Only five students were suspended for wearing them. There is no
indication that the work of the schools or any class was disrupted. Outside the
classrooms, a few students made hostile remarks to the children wearing
armbands, but there were no threats or acts of violence on school premises.
But, in our system, undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not
enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression. Any departure from
absolute regimentation may cause trouble. Any variation from the majority's
opinion may inspire fear. Any word spoken, in class, in the lunchroom, or on
the campus, that deviates from the views of another person may start an
argument or cause a disturbance. But our Constitution says we must take this
risk, Terminiello v. 1 (1949); and our history says that it is this sort of
hazardous freedom this kind of openness that is  the basis of our national
strength and of the independence and vigor of Americans who grow up and live in
this relatively permissive, often disputatious, society.
In order for the State in the person of school officials to justify
prohibition of a particular expression of opinion, it must be able to show that
its action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the
discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint.
Certainly where there is no finding and no showing that engaging in the
forbidden conduct would "materially and substantially interfere with the
requirements of Fake Men Ray Ban Metal appropriate
discipline in the operation of the school," the prohibition cannot be
sustained. Burnside v. Byars, supra, at 749. The record shows that students in
some of the schools wore buttons relating to national political campaigns, and
some even wore the Iron Cross, traditionally a symbol of Nazism. The order
prohibiting the wearing of armbands did not extend to these. Instead, a
particular symbol black armbands worn to exhibit opposition to this Nation's
involvement  in Vietnam was singled out for prohibition. Clearly, the
prohibition of expression of one particular opinion, at least without evidence
that it is necessary to avoid material and substantial interference with
schoolwork or discipline, is not constitutionally permissible.
In our system, state operated Tom Savage Womens Jersey schools may not be
enclaves of totalitarianism. Students in school as well as out of school are
"persons" under our Constitution. They are possessed of fundamental rights
which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their
obligations to the State. In our system, students may not be regarded as closed
circuit recipients of only that which the State chooses to communicate. They
may not be confined to the expression of those sentiments that are officially
approved. In the absence of a specific showing of constitutionally valid
reasons to regulate their speech, students are entitled to freedom of
expression of their views. As Judge Gewin, speaking for the Fifth Circuit,
said, school officials cannot suppress "expressions of feelings with which they
do not wish to contend." Burnside v. Byars, supra, at 749.
In Meyer v. Nebraska, supra, at 402, Mr. Justice McReynolds expressed this
Nation's repudiation of the principle that a State might so conduct its schools
as to "foster a homogeneous people." He said:
"In order to submerge the individual and develop ideal citizens, Sparta
assembled the males at seven into barracks and intrusted their subsequent
education and training to official guardians. Although such measures have been
deliberately approved by men of great genius, their ideas touching the relation
between individual and State were wholly different from those upon which our
institutions rest; and it hardly will be affirmed that any legislature could
impose such restrictions upon the people of a  State without doing
violence to both letter and spirit of the Constitution."
The principle of these cases is not confined to the supervised and ordained
discussion which takes place in the classroom. The principal use to which the
schools are dedicated is to accommodate students during prescribed hours for
the purpose of certain types of activities. Among those activities is personal
intercommunication among the students. This is not only an inevitable part
of the process of attending school; it is also an important part of the
educational process. A student's rights, therefore, do not embrace merely the
classroom hours. Burnside v. Byars, supra, at 749. But conduct by the student,
in class or out of it, which for any reason whether it stems from time, place,
or type of behavior materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial
disorder or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by
the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. Cf. Blackwell v. Issaquena
County Board of Education, 363 F.2d 749 (C. A. 5th Cir. 1966).
Under our Constitution, free speech is not a right that is given only to be
so circumscribed that it Fake Women Ray Ban Gradient exists in
principle but not in fact. Freedom of expression would not truly exist if the
right could be exercised only in an area that a benevolent government has
provided as a safe haven for crackpots. The Constitution says that Congress
(and the States) may not abridge the right to free speech. This provision means
what it says. We properly read it to permit reasonable regulation of speech
connected activities in carefully restricted circumstances. But we do not
confine the permissible exercise of First Amendment rights to a telephone booth
or the four corners of a pamphlet, or to supervised and ordained discussion in
a school classroom.