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Student Rights

For liberty to be preserved, it must be nurtured in the hearts and minds of young people. The ACLU educates students about the many important rights they have and supports those who exercise their rights. In doing so, we help to prepare the next generation of guardians of liberty.

Has your son or daughter been “emergency expelled” from school for a minor disciplinary infraction that presented no threat? Has a teacher searched all the texts on your phone because you forgot to turn it off during class? Has a friend who’s trying to form a Gay-Straight Alliance at your high school been told that the group is “too controversial” and cannot hold meetings on school grounds?
 

Topic Resources

Published: 
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The proposals didn’t live up to constitutional standards in several ways. The ACLU-WA testified about their constitutional infirmities amid a parade of faculty members and students who roasted them at a public hearing.
Published: 
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
When eighth-grader Shantelle Hicks learned she was pregnant, she was determined to stick with her education. But the administrators at her New Mexico middle school said she was a “bad example” and told her she couldn’t remain in school.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Text messaging, chats, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, and a host of other new avenues raise both new and old questions about legal rights. Now the ACLU-WA has published the first-ever guidebook laying out the rights of Washington public school students in using electronic communications devices.
Published: 
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
After enduring years of harassment in school, Russell Dickerson III offers his perspective on how educators can tackle harassment and bullying head-on. Represented by the ACLU-WA, Dickerson recently gained a major settlement from Aberdeen School District over its failure to take action to end the harassment.  He reconfirms that schools have a responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for all students. Dickerson gives some insight into how on the Journal of Educational Controversy Blog.
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, January 26, 2012
A former student who endured severe and persistent harassment throughout junior high and high school has gained a major settlement from the Aberdeen School District. The ACLU has represented Russell Dickerson III in a lawsuit saying that school district officials were aware of the harassment but failed to take steps reasonably calculated to end it.
Published: 
Friday, September 30, 2011
It’s the beginning of Fall and that always means … Back to School time! For students, parents, and educators, the ACLU-WA has many resources about rights at public school.
Published: 
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Students in the Kennewick School District are celebrating today because last night the school board restored access to school resources for noncurricular clubs.
Published: 
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
On July 11, the Richland School Board voted 4-1 to bring Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian back to all its high school classrooms. This welcome action reversed the board’s vote in June to exclude the novel from all high school classrooms after it was piloted for the 9th-grade curriculum.
Published: 
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Thinking back to myself at 13 years old, I recall a constant tension between the child I was and the adult I was becoming. Now I try to picture that version of myself being pulled from a classroom and taken to a conference room where two police officers and two school administrators want to question me about a neighborhood robbery. Would I have told officers I preferred they stop questioning me?  Or that I wanted to leave?

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