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Resources for Women's History Month, Tinker 50th Anniversary


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It's been nearly a month since an encounter between a group of high school students and a Native American elder at the Lincoln Memorial became the viral video seen around the world.

Seemingly overnight, this story, the conflicting versions of transpiring events and the manner in which it captured the nation's attention shone a bright light on the challenges to fair and unbiased reporting in an era of social media.

But when coverage shifted from the students' action to the media's response, an important angle was lost: this story's First Amendment implications.

A Sampling of Press Coverage

Here are a few examples of how this event and its aftermath were covered by a wide array of press outlets:

Our Take

In this story, we see freedom of speech, religion and assembly lawfully exercised. But do your students know when and where limits exist? Could they explain when yelling racially charged statements is — or isn't — acceptable? What about blocking someone's path or causing a crowd to gather? Or publishing misleading reports about specific people? Or condemning someone's actions online?

It illustrates how the First Amendment necessitates media literacy, as it protects a free exchange of ideas — with a few exceptions — even when those ideas are offensive, incorrect or incomplete. And media literacy without First Amendment foundations is missing a key piece of context to understand when and why we can exchange ideas about the issues that matter to us.

To explore this subject in greater detail, check out our "Free Speech Essentials" EDCollection. This collection explores 16 free speech debates ranging from the founding of our nation to recent headlines to illustrate what free speech actually means, where it comes from and how far it can go. How disruptive is too disruptive when it comes to exercising our First Amendment rights? Analyze the question with the help of historical and contemporary examples. Looking for ideas on how to approach controversial topics in the classroom? Our lesson plan From Provocative to Productive is a great place to start.


What has this particular event taught us about media literacy in the United States at this moment in history? Tweet @NewseumED with your response and be sure to include the hashtag #NEDquestion.


  • Out and About: The first two of 20 planned professional development workshops on Free Speech Essentials get underway Feb. 15. We'll be in Missouri providing educators from Parkway Schools and Rockwood Schools with content and tools to teach about the First Amendment and lead facts-driven debates about today's free expression controversies. In the coming months, we'll be crisscrossing the U.S. to present the sponsor-funded workshops.
  • Attending ASCD Empower19? Join us in Chicago for our session on "Today's Free Speech Essentials for Tomorrow's Leaders" from 1:45-2:45 p.m. Saturday, March 16. NewseumED curriculum director Anna Kassinger and social studies teacher Ashleigh Gillespie will discuss how to empower youth to express their ideas and opinions through active exploration of what the First Amendment does and doesn't guarantee.
  • Media Lit for All: For years we've been giving students and educators critical skills to analyze information and avoid being fooled by made-up or misleading stories. Now, the public can become media smart through our program in community libraries and centers. More than 500 members of the public have attended our free Escape Junk News program since it launched in fall. Our community educators will travel to libraries and community centers in the D.C. metro area that want to host this free program for adults. Not in the D.C. metro area? Let our team help you decide if a live webinar is right for your community. Email [email protected] with questions or to arrange a session.


  • Girl Scout Day: We'll have crafts, games, scavenger hunts and other special programming for scouts on Saturday, March 2. Admission is just $11 for girls, leaders and their families. View the event schedule and buy tickets.
  • LGBTQ Rights Exhibit: "Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement" opens March 8 and looks at how protests after a police raid in New York's Greenwich Village galvanized a 50-year fight for civil rights for LGBTQ Americans. NewseumED will provide a gallery guide for students and put some of the artifacts on our website. Take advantage of a special deal on opening weekend: Two youth (kids 18 and younger) get in free with the purchase of one general admission adult ticket March 9-10. Learn more.


  • Tinker Turns 50: The Supreme Court ruled on the landmark student rights case, Tinker v. Des Moines, 50 years ago this month. Use our resources, including virtual classes and videos with Mary Beth Tinker, to explore the importance of the court ruling then and now on student expression.
  • Women's History Month Resources: What better topic to cover than woman suffrage — considering June marks the 100th anniversary of Congress passing a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote? Our EDCollection, "Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less," provides a timeline, media map and lesson plans to learn about the suffrage movement and make present-day connections. Complete list of resources here.

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EDClasses & Training

  • Religious Liberty for Students

    Students will be introduced to the principles that flow from the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment.

  • Religious Literacy for Students

    Students will be introduced to academically rigorous and constitutionally appropriate models for analyzing the role of religion in private and public life.

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