Constitution Day Event
In February 1969, John Tinker made history when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that First Amendment rights applied in school, thus reminding young people that they have a voice. Tinker’s case started when, at age 15, he wore a black arm band to school protesting the Vietnam War. He was threatened with suspension and challenged the school district in his right to protest.
John Tinker is known for being the first-named petitioner in the landmark First Amendment case. Since the Supreme Court decision, Tinker has remained a committed peace activist. He has held a variety of positions including a deckhand on a shrimp boat, a city bus driver, a database programmer, an information systems architect, and a radio and electronics engineer. Most recently John has built a non-profit community radio station in Fayette, Missouri, which he and his wife, Patricia operate with the help of volunteers from the community. John is the president of the John F. Tinker Foundation, whose mission is to help to educate students, teachers and school administrators regarding the First Amendment rights of students, and to encourage the discussion of controversial issues across political boundaries.