“Tinkering” with Student Speech:
Courts and the First Amendment


The U.S. Supreme Court has said that students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gate,” but the exact parameters of that freedom have been the subject of numerous court opinions.

Our experts, Judge M. Margaret McKeown, author of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Dariano v. Morgan Hills Unified School District; UCLA Law Prof. Eugene Volokh, author of an amicus brief in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.; and Mary Beth Tinker, plaintiff in the seminal Tinker v. Des Moines case and veteran speaker on the issue of student free speech, will guide us through legal and practical considerations regarding free speech for students.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022
4:30-5:30 PM Pacific

Virtual Panel, over Zoom

CLE Credit

  • 1.0 CA MCLE as sponsored by Hughes Hubbard and Reed No. 1103
  • 1.0 AZ MCLE as sponsored by the Phoenix Chapter of the FBA.
  • 1.0 WA MCLE pending, as sponsored by the Western District of Washington Chapter of the FBA.
  • 1.0 HI MCLE, as sponsored by the Hawaii Chapter of the FBA.
  • Folks from other jurisdictions may verify their attendance and select “Other” to receive a generic certificate they can use to apply for credit.

CLE Materials:

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969)

Dariano v. Morgan Hills Unified School District, 767 F.3d 764 (9th Cir. 2014)

Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. (2021)

Amicus Brief to Mahanoy v. B.L. | Jane Bambauer, Ashutosh Bhagwat, and Eugene Volokh

Out-of-School K-12 Student Speech Can’t Be Punished Even If It Causes “Disruption” at School


Honorable M. Margaret McKeown

Judge McKeown was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1998. Judge McKeown was a White House Fellow in 1980-1981, serving as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior and Special Assistant at the White House. She was the first woman partner at Perkins Coie. Additionally, Judge McKeown has lectured and taught extensively on constitutional law, international law, human rights law, intellectual property, litigation, ethics, and judicial administration. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including most recently the ABA Margaret Brent Women of Achievement Award. She also has written extensively about Justice Douglas and has published articles about him in the Journal of Supreme Court History and in the Seattle Times.

Mary Beth Tinker

When Mary Beth was in eighth grade in 1965, she and a group of students in Des Moines, Iowa, were suspended from school for wearing black armbands to mourn the Vietnam war dead and to support a Christmas truce. A court challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union led to a landmark 1969 Supreme Court ruling in Tinker v Des Moines that neither teachers nor students “shed their constitutional rights… at the schoolhouse gate.” After the Court victory, Mary Beth became a Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner, working mostly with children and teenagers. She holds master’s degrees in nursing and public health. Mary Beth currently lives in Washington, but speaks virtually with students throughout the country on a “Tinker Tour” to promote civics education and the rights of young people.

Professor Eugene Volokh

Prof. Volokh teaches First Amendment law and a First Amendment amicus brief clinic at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, tort law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy. He clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is a prolific author, and the founder and co-author of The Volokh Conspiracy, a leading legal blog.