Student Rights Icon

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: 
Friday, October 22, 2010
Fall is a heavy season for truancy courts. Truancy court is a place where the school and the court systems converge. In truancy proceedings, it’s important to safeguard both the due process rights of youth and their best educational interests. Read more
Published: 
Monday, October 18, 2010
A recent story about a college party in tiny Roslyn, WA, in which nine people were taken to the hospital for possible overdoses, has received national media attention.  It’s alleged that drinks at the party were spiked with drugs (possibly Rohypnol, aka “roofies”), although authorities are still awaiting toxicology reports. If students were indeed drugged without consent, let’s hope law enforcement catches up with those responsible. However, a less talked about and equally disturbing aspect of the story is that “not one person chose to call 911." This is unfortunate on several levels, but most glaringly because Washington state recently enacted a law specifically designed to deal with this type of situation. The 911 Good Samaritan law works as follows: If you think you’re witnessing a drug overdose and seek medical help, you will receive immunity from criminal charges of drug possession.  The overdose victim you’re helping is protected, too. Calling 911 is always the right response.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, August 30, 2010
The ACLU of Washington has told the Oak Harbor School Board that a proposed policy for searching student cell phones goes too far. It violates privacy to allow school administrators to search student cell phones without the permission of students or their parents.
Published: 
Friday, August 20, 2010
The ACLU works to protect student rights in the courts and in the state legislature. But our most valuable job is educating students and families about rights they may not even realize they have.
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
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: 
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.
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

Pages