The Motivation and Impact


Kaitlyn Styve

Attorney Mike Hiestand and Mary Beth Tinker visit the JEA Convention in Boston, Mass. to speak to students about the importance of the First Amendment.

Cara Brashears, Online Editor

Continued from Mary Beth Tinker: Taking Her Rights on a Tour:

Tinker said a large part of her motivation to begin the tour came from her realization that kids are being cheated from having a say. They pay the price for policies adults make, she said, but their voice is not seen as equally as their elders.

“When we suppress student voices and have a lot of strict rules against student expression, we’re really cheating the whole society,” Tinker said.  “We’re being deprived of youth ideas, creativity and their ability to solve problems that adults may not be able to approach in the same way. That’s why I started the Tinker Tour.”

Hiestand said the first goal of the tour is to raise student awareness of individual rights. Once they know what their rights are, he said they need to use them for the major problems out there.

“It’s a pivotal time, and the change doesn’t come from the senior citizens or people in my generation,” Hiestand said. “It all begins with the young people.”

Tinker agreed that teenagers are the heart of where change begins. Kids notice things that adults are already used to, she said, which allows them to make a bigger impact in journalism.

“Young people stand up for fairness, justice, and for a better way,” Tinker said. “Everyone says, ‘Get used to it. Life’s not fair.’  But why should you get used to it?  Life could be more fair if we just make it happen and stand up for that.  We shouldn’t accept the way the world is right now.”

Not only is justice important to Tinker, but as a nurse, she said health resides right next to freedoms on a list of priorities.

“With physical health comes civic health, and the ability to have a voice,” Tinker said. “The First Amendment is a part of being healthy. You can stand up for your social health, and journalism is such a big part of that.”

What Does the First Amendment Mean to You?

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It’s given us a voice, and the ability to say what we want without having to worry about the consequences.

— junior Jamie Tafoya, Fort Collins High School, Colo.

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Freedom. It allows me to be myself and not be afraid to impact my community.

— senior K-State journalism ambassador Justin Smith

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Having an opinion is awesome. The First Amendment allows me to express myself on yearbook and ask questions without having to worry.

— junior Kenny Taboada, Green Valley High School, Nev.

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It means everything. If we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t be able to interview whoever we want, like we do for newspaper.

— sophomore Corey LaMalva, Londonderry High School, NH

Next: Taking it to the Road