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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: 
Friday, August 20, 2010
Washington’s constitution defines education as the “paramount duty” of the state and makes education a fundamental constitutional right. Public schools are one of the largest and most important parts of government, and at some point public education directly affects the life of almost everyone in America. The ACLU works to protect student rights in the courts and in the state legislature. But the most valuable thing the ACLU does to help preserve and extend the rights of youth, though, is educating students and families about rights they may not even realize they have. Read more
Published: 
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Under federal Title IX and state law, girls and boys in Washington state are supposed to have equal opportunities to participate in high school sports All too often, however, boys’ opportunities far exceed girls’ because schools offer more boys sports, more squads within a sport, or bigger team rosters. Read more
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Public records obtained by the ACLU-WA show that the University of Washington Police Department authorized an undercover officer to attend, participate in, and collect information about meetings student activists on campus. ACLU-WA executive director Kathleen Taylor and recent UW Law School graduates Salmun Kazerounian and Sarah White discussed concerns at a press conference at the ACLU office.
Published: 
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Recently obtained documents show that the University of Washington Police Department authorized an officer to spy on, collect information about, and participate in meetings of the UW Student Worker Coalition, without any suspicion of criminal activity. The ACLU of Washington is working with the SWC to uncover the extent of surveillance, and to encourage the University to take the steps necessary to prevent suspicionless surveillance in the future.   Read more
News Release, Published: 
Friday, July 2, 2010
  Racial, ethnic, disability, sexual orientation, and other kinds of discrimination remains a pervasive problem in Washington schools. Discrimination shows up in a variety of forms, among them harassment, disparate discipline including suspensions and expulsions, over-referral to special education, and under-inclusion in advanced-placement classes. Such discrimination contributes to lower achievement and higher dropout rates among student populations.   Originally published in the Summer 2010 issue of the WSBA Civil Rights Newsletter. 
Published: 
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Fair Play in Community Sports This summer marks the one-year anniversary of the Washington Fair Play Law, the law that requires community sports programs to provide equal benefits and opportunities to girls in sports. While the federal Title IX law has long prohibited discrimination in school sports, community sports programs could - and did - discriminate with impunity. So the Fair Play Law was passed to deal with persistent inequities that played out in community sports programs throughout the state. Read more
Published: 
Friday, June 4, 2010
In passing the Healthy Youth Act in 2007, Washington’s legislature affirmed that our youth need comprehensive and accurate sex education. It is now up to all of us to make sure that the spirit of the law is honored in our communities; by doing this, we can take a large step toward protecting the reproductive health of our youth. Read more
Published: 
Friday, May 14, 2010
This session the Washington Legislature passed a landmark civil rights law (HB 3026). The measure explicitly prohibits discrimination based on race, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, religion, disability, national origin, veteran or military status, and disability in public schools – sex discrimination was previously banned. And it gives the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) the tools to enforce compliance with these prohibitions against discrimination. This is an important step forward. But it's not time to breathe a sigh of relief yet. There is more work to ensure this law does what it is supposed to do. OSPI is hosting town halls across the state to get community members’ input to inform the creation of the Washington State Code (WAC) that will implement the new law.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, April 26, 2010
After the ACLU intervened, a female student received credit for a physical education class from which school officials wrongfully barred her due to her pregnancy.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
A Q&A about walkouts, policy regarding absences, and other student political speech at public schools.

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