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LSU students get a lesson in free speech

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POSTED: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 3:56pm

UPDATED: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 8:38pm

LSU students got a lesson in first amendment rights Monday.

Mary Beth Tinker knows how to practice her first amendment rights, and she knows how to fight for them, too.

"It's just such an honor to be here today, as part of the centennial celebration at this school that has such a history of first amendment rights and helping people to stand up and speak up in democracy," Mary Beth said.

Mary Beth and some of her high school classmates protested the Vietnam War and got suspended for it. This case made it's way to the Supreme Court and in a 7 to 2 decision. Their suspension was ruled unconstitutional because it violated their freedom of expression.

Now, Mary Beth wants to share her experience with students of this generation.

"I've taken a leave from my job so I can travel around the country speaking with students and encouraging them to know they're rights, first of all, and to use them," Mary Beth said.

Aryanna Prasad, LSU Mass Communication student, did just that.

"I'm a student activist. I'm very interested in political causes. I was out in Free Speech ally protesting the shutdown, and I learned a lot from that experience," Aryanna said. "About when you do protest and when you do talk about these social issues, it can be very unpopular. I saw some of my peers walk by and give me sideways glances like they didn't know who I was or they didn't know what I was talking about, and then I also had people I don't even know, come up to me and thank me for what I was doing."

"We need to know what's going on in the world, if we're going to shape of world, and that's where journalism comes in, and that's why we're so honored to be here to be here with our Tinker Tour to make a stop in Baton Rouge at LSU," Mary Beth said.

"These sorts of experiences, they continue to inspire me to be a journalist," Aryanna said. "They inspire me to do that certain causes deserve to be talked about and I have a right to speak out and I'm going to use it."

Mary Beth Tinker's next stop on her tour is McComb, Mississippi.

For more information on Mary Beth tour, you can click here.

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