Stories of the First Amendment Teacher Event
Teachers, you’re invited to attend a very special professional development session on Wed Nov 6, 2019, 4:00-6:00 pm. Meet First Amendment heroes, hear their stories, and gather techniques and resources to use in the classroom.
- Gene Policinski, President and Chief Operating Officer, Freedom Forum Institute
- Robert Patrick, Reporter on Federal Courts for the St. Louis Post Dispatch
- Mary Beth Tinker, from Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969
- Cathy (Kuhlmeier) Frey, from Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, 1988
- Hon. Noelle Collins, former journalist and current U.S. Magistrate Judge
- Lynne Jackson, descendant of Dred Scott, President and Founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation
Brought to you by the U.S. Courts. The event is free and includes parking and light refreshments. Space is limited and registration is required. Registration is limited to active classroom teachers and advisors, grades 6-12 and relevant post-secondary, in the areas of social studies and journalism.
- Location: Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse, 111 South Tenth Street, 63102
- Parking Location: Stadium West Parking Garage, 215 South Eighth Street, 63102. OR you can also enter from 100 South Ninth Street, 63102. (must park here to receive complimentary parking)
- REGISTER: Registration is closed for this event
Mary Beth Tinker
Tinker’s landmark case, Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969, was decided 50 years ago this year. As a 13-year-old student in eighth grade, Mary Beth was strongly affected by news of the Vietnam War. She and her brothers and sisters, along with other students in Des Moines, decided to wear black armbands to school to mourn the dead on both sides and to show support for a truce. The school tried to block the students from wearing the armbands, and most of the students who wore them were suspended. They sued the school district for violating their First Amendment rights. The case made its way to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and eventually to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court ruled in favor of the students, stating “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” The case continues to be cited in most student speech cases to this day.
Cathy (Kuhlmeier) Frey
As a high school junior, Frey and other students in the Journalism II class at Hazelwood East in St. Louis wrote stories about their peers’ experiences with teen pregnancy and the impact of divorce. When they published the articles in the school newspaper The Spectrum, the principal deleted the pages that contained the stories prior to publication, without telling the students. Suing the school district for violation of their First Amendment rights, the students took their case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The case made its way to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and eventually to the U.S. Supreme Court. Though the Court ruled that the principal’s action did not violate the First Amendment, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, 1988, still resonates today and is part of the inspiration for 2019 being declared the “Year of the Student Journalist” and for the advancement of “New Voices” laws protecting student journalists around the country.
One of the founding editors of USA Today, he oversees all programs of the Freedom Forum Institute. A veteran multimedia journalist, he also writes, lectures and is interviewed regularly on First Amendment issues. In 1996, he joined the Freedom Forum, the foundation that is the principal funder of the Newseum and Freedom Forum Institute. He hosts or co-hosts a variety of online audio and video programs produced by the Institute, including “The First Five” podcast, and is co-author of the nationally distributed commentary “Inside the First Amendment.”
Robert Patrick has covered federal courts and federal law enforcement for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 2006, and St. Louis city courts before that. After earning a graduate degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, he worked as a researcher for the Washington, DC-based investigative team of The Los Angeles Times before moving to Florida to cover public safety in Manatee County for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.