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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, 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.
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I am well aware that the intent in drafting this policy, the goal, is to help students by identifying drug users and then assisting them into treatment and by deterring drug and alcohol use. These are good goals. But the reading I have been doing suggests the policy may in fact result in the opposite outcome -increased problem drug or alcohol use.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
A Q&A of issues regarding military recruitment at schools
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
A recent federal court decision affects how Washington schools must operate their Associated Student Body organizations.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
In the wake of the tragic murder of gay student Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, civil rights advocates in Washington are calling for passage of the Safe Schools Act.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The federal Equal Access Act requires schools to give all noncurriculum-related student clubs – such as Gay-Straight Alliances - equal access to school facilities, regardless of the content of the speech in their meetings.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
In the first legal action of its kind in Washington, two sets of parents of Wahkiakum High School students filed a lawsuit on Dec. 17, 1999 challenging Wahkiakum School District’s policy of suspicionless urine testing for students who participate in extracurricular athletic activities.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
For the second straight year, the first week of school brought the ACLU a plea for help from a student in trouble for refusing to stand for the flag salute.

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