The US Supreme Court has considered the question of free speech rights for students several times since its landmark Tinker v. Des Moines ruling in 1969. In each case it has confronted the failure of existing precedents to crystallize the imaginary distinction between speech
and action in such a way as to satisfactorily negotiate the social relationship between students and educators, youth and adults. This essay analyzes three cases in the student free speech tradition, attending to the ways in which materiality is thematized in the course of a negotiation of
the interests of adults vis-à-vis youth.