Youth Topic Icon

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.
Stop pushing special education students out of school:  ACLU of Washington lawsuit seeks to stop students who require special education from being pushed out of Washington's public schools
PSA to student protesters: You have rights!
Taking a knee: A guide for administrators, teachers, parents, and students
Prosecutors should think twice before charging teens who sext

Resources

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.
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.
Published: 
Friday, January 27, 2012
Since the turn of the century, juvenile courts have been separate from adult courts. The goal of juvenile courts, as the Supreme Court recognized over 50 years ago, is to determine how to rehabilitate juveniles and “save [them] from a downward career.” To further these goals, juvenile court records have historically been shielded from public view. This system allows juveniles to enter adulthood without being publicly labeled as criminals.
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.
Published: 
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Teen marijuana usage rates have risen slightly in recent years, while tobacco and alcohol usage rates have declined. Alarmingly, 12th-graders across the nation and in Washington state are now more likely to have used marijuana in the past 30 days than to have smoked a cigarette.
Published: 
Friday, September 30, 2011
It’s the beginning of Fall and that always means … Back to School time! For students, parents, and educators, the ACLU-WA has many resources about rights at public school.
Published: 
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Students in the Kennewick School District are celebrating today because last night the school board restored access to school resources for noncurricular clubs.
Published: 
Friday, August 26, 2011
The Washington Supreme Court issued a great and unanimous ruling for disabled students this Thursday in a case (Dowler v. Clover Park School District)  in which the ACLU-WA submitted a friend-of-the-court brief.  The facts in the case were horrendous, and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was being used to stop the students from getting relief. 
Published: 
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
From her career as an athlete came some important lessons: “Don’t fear a challenge, welcome it.” “The game ain’t over till it’s over – there are many quarters, many innings, and you have to play every one hard.” “You’ll never know the true joy of victory unless you have known defeat. Be humble in both.” Maj. Margaret Witt found these maxims from the world of sports stood her in good stead during her years of service in the military – and during her long legal battle with the government over her dismissal from the military under the now-repealed “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.  
Published: 
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
On July 11, the Richland School Board voted 4-1 to bring Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian back to all its high school classrooms. This welcome action reversed the board’s vote in June to exclude the novel from all high school classrooms after it was piloted for the 9th-grade curriculum.

Pages