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Youth

All young people must have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in our society. The ACLU Youth Policy project seeks to ensure that young people – particularly those who have been historically excluded or underserved – receive meaningful education and services in communities, instead of being pushed to a juvenile justice system that will undermine their ability to be successful as adults. Our current focus is on reforming school discipline policies and practices, working to limit school-based referrals to the juvenile justice system, and decreasing the over-reliance on jails and prisons for young people in the juvenile and adult criminal law systems.

Topic Resources

News Release, Published: 
Thursday, June 8, 2017
The ACLU of Washington today filed a lawsuit against the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) on behalf of students with special education needs who have been wrongfully disciplined for behavior related to the disabilities. The suit asks that OSPI, which is the primary public agency responsible for overseeing K-12 public education in Washington, ensure that they remain in school instead of being pushed out.

Equal Access Act

Document, Published: 
Friday, May 5, 2017
Many schools allow students to form clubs, like a drama club or a debate club. Under the law, schools cannot discriminate against student clubs, like Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) for example, simply because they disagree with the message or purpose of a club. This document provides information about the federal Equal Access Act and protections for student clubs.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, April 24, 2017
Students, Not Suspects Highlights How School Policing Funnels Youth into School-to-Prison Pipeline
Published: 
Monday, April 24, 2017
A new ACLU report exposes how police in Washington's schools funnel youth into the school-to-prison pipeline.
Published: 
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
After concerns raised by ACLU of WA and community. A controversial personal relationships speaker withdraws from Kennewick School District event.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
A 16 year-old boy who was repeatedly put into solitary confinement, subjected to filthy conditions, and denied adequate food while in the Grays Harbor County Juvenile Detention Facility is suing Grays Harbor County for violating his constitutional rights.   
Published: 
Monday, October 24, 2016
Restorative justice provides an alternative that can help break the cycle of over-incarceration for many offenses.  Restorative practices focus on repairing the harm that has been done, rather than simply punishing someone who has committed an offense by locking them up.
Published: 
Friday, October 21, 2016
Schools must refrain from trampling the free-speech rights of students, but if that’s all they do, their work is incomplete. Rather than approach student protests as something simply to be tolerated, schools should embrace the teachable moments they present.
Published: 
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The ACLU of Washington recently filed friend of the court briefs in three cases urging the Washington Supreme Court to align the law with developments in brain science.

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