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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? Know your rights and where to get help!
 
The school discipline conversation is catching on
ACLU of Washington Lawsuit: Stop pushing special education students out of schools
State Supreme Court rules against student drug testing

Resources

Published: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Kids can’t learn if they aren’t in school.  That’s why our state has a mandatory attendance rule that requires students to go school or give a good reason why they have missed a day of class time.  But our current discipline laws allow schools to expel or suspend kids as a punishment for breaking rules sometimes for even minor infractions.
Published: 
Friday, July 20, 2012
Teenagers need to be able to explore lots of educational and career possibilities – and to do so without having the military automatically know about their personal explorations.  When you’re in high school (not to mention older), you may not know what you want to be.  Personally, I remember that when I was 16, I dreamt of being a physician.  A fan of Grey’s Anatomy, I thought that a rebellious doctor who happens to find a Prince Charming in an all-white lab coat epitomized the perfect job. 

The Pledge of Allegiance in Washington Public Schools

Document, Published: 
Friday, June 1, 2012
Many public schools in the United States ask students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Some students object to the practice for reasons of conscience. Both the Washington Legislature and the courts have developed a common-sense solution to the conflict: a school may lead students in reciting the Pledge, but it must also respect the wishes of students who choose not to join.
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.

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