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End of the Hearing

Brookwood students: now that you are finished with the hearing, pass along tips to the lawyers and judges at BGA who have not yet finished the project. What information, specifically, could help them succeed?


  1. Hi BGA, if you are a judge what can help you is listen to everyone’s points and take good notes. If a lawyer wants to change your mind, listen to what they have to say and then listen to what the other side has to say about the same topic.

  2. I think that something that could help you guys is to ask really could questions. Also, if you are a judge, you have to question the lawyers and ask them hard questions.

    • I completely agree with you, Ellen. When you ask questions, it forces the pressure back on them, and they now have to say something that wasn’t planned. It’s a good skill to have during all debates.

    • I agree with Ellen and Gianni both when saying Supreme court has to ask good, hard questions. If you think of questions that you think may shake the lawyers, ask them it’s always good to see what they say.

      • I also agree. Asking the judges questions helps your learning and also helps theirs. I think that it forces the lawyers to think on their feet and go thought the information that they know to come up with an answer.

  3. A little tip for the supreme quart: make sure that you ask a lot of questions, but helpful ones. Because if you have a lot of good questions, they can help you see the sides differently, and maybe change your decision on sides. Also, try not to pick sides too early, and no matter how much they beg you to, never tell the lawyers what side your on.

    • I agree, but if you are a School lawyer, you are going to want to show the hatred associated with the Confederate flag. The KKK is a great way to prove your point in this case.

      • I agree with both comments. I think that in the minuets 14-16 in the skype with Tinker are very important to this subject. Mary beth talks about how you can’t discriminate against different viewpoints and that is very important for the Defoe side because it shows that the school can’t discriminate on what Tommy Defoe’s perspective on the flag.

      • The KKK was a part of the school lawyers against us, we used the natzi swatze as an example. The swatze was a peaceful symbol until used by a horrible person. Just like the confederate flag was a heritage related flag, not slavery or harm. Until the KKK used it, that really helped our argument.

        • The Nazis in Skokie is a great precedent if the school’s side uses the KKK to help their case because the Nazi Party had an incredibly hateful message that they wanted to send but even though that the message they wanted to send was hate the supreme court ruled with the Nazis. I agree with Nils about how the swastika was a symbol of peace in many religions until Hitler turned it into a symbol of hatred. That is like what the KKK did to the Confederate Flag. The Confederate Flag was a symbol of southern heritage and pride, and my opinion still is but that was slightly changed when the KKK flew the flag to represent their own intentions.

  4. Hi BGA! If you are a lawyer, make sure that you pick out three or four main points that you really want the judges to hear/understand. Then, when you are presenting, try and connect every one of your arguments to these three or four main points. This is crucial when you’re making your argument because it highlights the importance of these points to the judges so that you can better sway them with your arguments.

  5. A tip that would help the school win the case: There were countless absent African-American students as well as several “school lockdowns” in Anderson County schools because of the violence and racism that is happening at these schools. These absent African-American students and “school lockdowns” are disruptions in the learning environment, which are the one of the few times that a person’s rights may be taken away from him.

    • I think that these are very important pieces of information. These points work very well with Tinker Standard which is crucial for the school to win the case. The thinker standard talks about how you con’t disrupt school, foreshadow a disruption/violence, or take away someones rights. The information above shows that wearing the belt could cause a disruption. Also there was an incident where Anderson County High School kids through oreos at a biracial kid during a basketball game. Also, at ACHS, a white kid put up a confederate battle flag in the hall to bully a new black kid. There are more previous disturbances all at ACHS that go perfectly with the Tinker standard.

  6. In the hearing, the Supreme Court Justices ruled 12 – 0 in favor of the school, because half of the Supreme Court was really biased, and the school brought up some very good points. One of the points the school brought up was saying that even if a message is good, if it leads to disruption it is not protected by the freedom of speech. They did this by bringing up a precedent of a girl hanging up a sign of #BLACKLIVESMATTER to spread awareness about the Ferguson murder. It lead to disruption, and the school suspended her. The suspension was legitimate. This shows that even though a message can have a good intent, if it leads to disruption, you are not protected by the First Amendment. When Tom Defoe said that the Confederate Flag was a sign of his southern heritage and pride, and he was trying to convey a good message, it doesn’t matter, because it could lead to disruption, so the school was right to suspend him.

  7. In my classes hearing, The school won 7-0 in both courts. The schools judges made a good case as to why it was right for Defoe to be suspended, they added clear precedents and lots of information to their side of their case. The school was indeed being constitutional as they were just trying to avoid disruption around and within the school. As Kishan said, the First Amendment doesn’t protect you if what you do will lead to disruption.

  8. Hi! A tip to help the Defoe side would be to use recent precedents. I was on the school side, but I noticed how the judges didn’t like that the Defoe lawyers used precedents from a long time ago, like 1930. Try to find solid, recent precedents to back up your case.

  9. For the school’s side, I would suggest using the Tinker Standard. That was one of our best points. It states that student freedom of speech can be limited if it causes or could cause (a) a substantial disruption of the school environment or (b) an invasion of the rights of others. If we did not have this point to put on the table, we might not have won with our 12-0 vote win.

  10. One thing that I would like to suggest is for the school side is to always use evidence that you found in some of the articles. It is very helpful to the Supreme Court if you have evidence to prove your point.

  11. I was a lawyer for the school team. Some advice that I have for you guys at BGA is that make sure to make your points very clear and too the point. Also if your precedents are very similar to the Defoe case that will help you out a lot.

  12. I was a judge during the hearing and my class’s hearing was a 12-0 win for the school. Some very important things that are very helpful during the case is to, Ask a lot of questions to get all the info, dates, names make sure they answer the entire question that you asked thoroughly. Also, after the trial it’s a good idea to call the lawyers over to make sure you have all the right information.

  13. One of the important things that you need to remember if you’re a Supreme Court judge is not to be bias towards one side or the other. You have to make sure that you just base your decision on real facts that the lawyers said. Lastly you should keep an eye out to make sure that none of the lawyers are using points that are opinion based.

  14. One thing that I thought into consideration when I was the Supreme Court was precedents. So if you re a Lawyer, remember to bring up one or two precedents, they help the Judges make their decision. Also Supreme court, if you want to ask a question but you think it won’t help anything, ask it anyway. I asked a bunch of questions like that and yet it helped me a lot with the writing part of this project.

  15. Hi, BGA, I’m sure you’ve seen on other comments that the school won their case in every class. I agree with what Kishan said earlier, half of the Supreme Court was biased, but the school lawyers did very well to present their case. If you are a Defoe lawyer I would recommend using the Nazi Socialist Party vs. State of Illinois precedent, because the Nazi symbol can be seen as a sign of hatred, just like the confederate flag can be. Also, make sure not to use any opinion based points if you are a lawyer.

  16. Hi BGA. There’s this great precedent that the school’s lawyers used in our case. It happened at a Booker T. Washington school. You should be able to find it by searching “booker t washington #blacklivesmatter.” It’s a great precedent that the school can use, and helped to completely turn me over to the school’s side.

  17. HI BGA in my class the school won 6-5. I was a school lawyer and you really have to make a clear point about how the freedom of speech can be limited and use examples like the video of Mary Beth Tinker.

    • Hi BGA, I was also in Louisa’s class and I wanted to add on that you want to make your augment short and sweet so then the listeners get the point with out being bored.

  18. Hello BGA, if your on the school lawyer team, you can go and check out a comment I made. It may help you win the case. Another thing that you should pay attention too is having your points backed up by facts. I answered a question, my response that wasn’t entirely objective, our team still won 14-0, but it definitely embarrassed my team and I.

  19. Hi BGA, if you are a lawyer make sure you have an answer to important questions, because the judges want answers. Lawyers, also speak loud and clear so that you don’t have to repeat a statement. If you speak up, it makes you seem like you know what you’re talking about, that you’re prepared, and that you’re confident.

  20. Hi guys,
    We convincingly won our case because we were able to stress the fact that the Confederate flag can be interpreted as an offensive symbol by some. We talked about how many states in the Confederacy left the Union because they wanted to continue slavery. We also said that the Vice President of the Confederacy said the country was founded upon “the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man”. Another fact we used was that some of the bullies at Anderson County High were wearing Confederate flags when they were being racist.

  21. In our class, the it was school won 13-0. All the court judges thought that the school made clearer points and precedents while the Defoe lawyers made a clear argument but they were being repetitive when they were asked questions. I also thought that because the Defoe lawyers didn’t use the American Civil Liberties Union to help make a point that all symbolic speech is allowed could have really help their argument. Overall, everyone did a good job during the case and I congratulate the school lawyers on winning the case.

  22. I was a Defoe lawyer in my class. We lost in a landslide, but still had some points that we thought gave us an advantage. Some advice I would have to lawyers would be to find precedents with really good similarities to the Defoe case. Not just to have the proof that they won their case, but some other supporting factors like if it was a public school, if there was previous racial tension, and so on. Then probably double check your precedents to make sure you’ve got the facts right. Also, speak in a strong, confident voice. It will make you seem like you’re prepared and know what you’re doing.

  23. If you were a defoe lawyer like me then I highly recommenced having precedents that directly relate to school happenings. I think we could have improved our case if we had more than the tinkers that were directly school related. Also alot of the judges didn’t like that we added a precedent that was 84 years old. I think that overall the best precedents include school related or minor related since the judges don’t need to interpret they will just vote for the other side. We also had a very partial jury which was a bit sad.

  24. If you are a lawyer, it is really helpful to have a lot of evidence, and support that you know really well to support your side. I was a lawyer and we had one piece of paper that we got off a website and showed it to the judges when they asked us questions, and helped us to win the case. You want to have something that you know will help you win the case.

  25. Hi BGA, if you are a supreme court Justice, I recommend that you listen very carefully to the lawyers’ points and take notes on each of their statements. If you do this it will help you greatly in deciding who should win the case with your fellow judges. Also, question the lawyers to dig deeper and find a better answer. And finally, make sure that the lawyers’ precedents are valid (some could not even be a court case). This will allow you to come out with a better and truthful decision of who should win the case.

  26. BGA, if you are a judge, make sure that you check up on all the precedents the lawyers use, some of them are not court cases, which makes it not a very good precedent.

  27. Our ruling was 12 to 0 in favor of the school. As a Defoe Lawyer I think that this ruling was completely false. The judges were in my opinions very biased. I was told by one of the judges, “I don’t want to talk to you because I already know who I am voting for.” I feel like part of the reason we lost is because of the bias. But I also believed that there were some points that the school made did sway lots of the judges. I also feel like when I was trying to reply to their point the judges tried to ignore what we were saying and pretending that they didn’t hear what we were saying. I am fine that we lost as a Defoe Lawyer but I do not think the ruling was accurate. I think the ruling should have been much closer that it actually was. In the end I understand that I understand that the school made some good points about how there was “racial tension” in the school though I do not agree. I advise the Defoe Lawyers to find a good way to respond to the “racial tension” being created by the flag.

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