10th Grade ELA – Pre-test Assessment 4
You will be taking the Grade 10 English Language Arts/Literacy Pre-test.
You will be asked to read a passage. Read the passage and all the questions carefully. Some questions will ask you to choose one correct answer, while others will ask you to choose more than one correct answer. You may look back at the passage when needed.
To answer a question, click on the circle or circles of the correct answer.
Read the passage “Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District”. Then answer the questions.
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District
by Justice Hugo Black
1 The Court’s holding in this case ushers in what I deem to be an entirely new era in which the power to control pupils by the elected “officials of state supported public schools . . .” in the United States is in ultimate effect transferred to the Supreme Court. The Court brought this particular case here on a petition for certiorari urging that the First and Fourteenth Amendments protect the right of school pupils to express their political views all the way “from kindergarten through high school.” Here, the constitutional right to “political expression” asserted was a right to wear black armbands during school hours and at classes in order to demonstrate to the other students that the petitioners were mourning because of the death of United States soldiers in Vietnam and to protest that war which they were against. Ordered to refrain from wearing the armbands in school by the elected school officials and the teachers vested with state authority to do so, apparently only seven out of the school system’s 18,000 pupils deliberately refused to obey the order. One defying pupil was Paul Tinker, 8 years old, who was in the second grade; another, Hope Tinker, was 11 years old and in the fifth grade; a third member of the Tinker family was 13, in the eighth grade; and a fourth member of the same family was John Tinker, 15 years old, an 11th grade high school pupil. Their father, a Methodist minister without a church, is paid a salary by the American Friends Service Committee. Another student who defied the school order and insisted on wearing an armband in school was Christopher Eckhardt, an 11th grade pupil and a petitioner in this case. His mother is an official in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
2 As I read the Court’s opinion, it relies upon the following grounds for holding unconstitutional the judgment of the Des Moines school officials and the two courts below. First, the Court concludes that the wearing of armbands is “symbolic speech,” which is “akin to ‘pure speech,’” and therefore protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Secondly, the Court decides that the public schools are an appropriate place to exercise “symbolic speech” as long as normal school functions are not “unreasonably” disrupted. Finally, the Court arrogates to itself, rather than to the State’s elected officials charged with running the schools, the decision as to which school disciplinary regulations are “reasonable.”
3 Assuming that the Court is correct in holding that the conduct of wearing armbands for the purpose of conveying political ideas is protected by the First Amendment, , e.g., Giboney v. Empire Storage & Ice Co., 336 U.S. 490 (1949), the crucial remaining questions are whether students and teachers may use the schools at their whim as a platform for the exercise of free speech—“symbolic” or “pure”—and whether the courts will allocate to themselves the function of deciding how the pupils’ school day will be spent. While I have always believed that, under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, neither the State nor the Federal Government has any authority to regulate or censor the content of speech, I have never believed that any person has a right to give speeches or engage in demonstrations where he pleases and when he pleases. This Court has already rejected such a notion. In Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 554 (1965), for example, the Court clearly stated that the rights of free speech and assembly “do not mean that everyone with opinions or beliefs to express may address a group at any public place and at any time.”
4 While the record does not show that any of these armband students shouted, used profane language, or were violent in any manner, detailed testimony by some of them shows their armbands caused comments, warnings by other students, the poking of fun at them, and a warning by an older football player that other nonprotesting students had better let them alone. There is also evidence that a teacher of mathematics had his lesson period practically “wrecked,” chiefly by disputes with Mary Beth Tinker, who wore her armband for her “demonstration.”
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District by Justice Hugo Black. Public Domain.
10th Grade ELA – Pre-test Assessment 4
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