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, 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.
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: 
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
The U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases on Dec. 4 – including one from Seattle – involving desegregation programs in public schools. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the cases.
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
A settlement between student Nick Emmett and Kent School District has ended the district’s attempt to punish the student because of a Web site created on his home computer. Under terms of the settlement negotiated by the ACLU, the suburban Seattle district will not pursue disciplinary action against Emmett over the Web site and will pay his attorney fees.
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.

Pages