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Legal Resources

Know Your Rights!

SDS believes that all students should know their rights. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We believe that it is our constitutional right and responsibility to protest the unjust war in Vietnam, and to press for a more representative democracy.

In fact, the US Supreme Court has already defended the right of students to protest this brutal war! In Tinker v. Des Moines School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969), the Court held that school officials had violated the rights of students by suspending them for refusing to remove black arm bands in protest of the war:

β€œIn our system, state-operated schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. 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.” – Justice Abe Fortas, writing for the majority

Do not let the government deny you your right to peaceably protest this war!

If you think that your rights are being violated, contact SDS or the American Civil Liberties Union at:

ACLU National Office
1400 20th St. NW, Suite 119
Washington, D.C.
Phone: 202-457-0800