Your rights and how they apply in school.

What about my rights. This is a question everyone asks in their life. After a conversation with a member of the ACLU they broke it down for us.


1. Speech rights

Tinker v. Des Moines is one of the most renowned Supreme Court cases that deals with students constitutional rights. The ACLU was personally involved in this case. They successfully challenged a school board’s  decision to suspend three students for wearing  black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) rules declared that students do not shed their rights to freedom of expression at the school house gate, particularly the right to free speech. The First Amendment ensures that students can not be punished for exercising their free speech rights, even if school administrators don’t like whats being said.


2. Dress codes

Schools are have every right to establish a dress code, and students also have the right to express themselves. Many have speculated that these dress codes are being used to shame girls, force students to conforms to gender stereotypes, and punish students with opposing political viewpoints. Dress codes have also been known to infringe on student’s religious rights by banning rosaries, headscarves, or anything the school deems religious.


3. Immigrant rights

Schools cannot discriminate against students on the basis of race, color, national origin. Undocumented children cannot be denied their right to a free public education, but some schools continue to create exclusionary policies. Last year, the ACLU sued several school districts for requiring families to prove their immigration status in order to enroll their children in school.


4. LGBT rights


Bullying of LGBT students can be pervasive at schools, and is all too often ignored or encouraged by the schools themselves. LGBT students have a right to be who they are and express themselves at school. Students have a right to be out of the closet at school, and schools cannot skirt their responsibility to create a safe learning environment and address incidents of harassment.

Public schools are not allowed to threaten to “out” students to their families, overlook bullying, force students to wear clothing inconsistent with their gender identity or bar LGBT-themed clubs or attire. Transgender and gender non-conforming students often face hostile environments in which school officials refuse to refer to students by their preferred gender pronouns or provide access to appropriate bathroom and locker room facilities.


5. Pregnancy right


Since Title IX, a law barring sex discrimination in education, was passed in 1972, schools have been prohibited from excluding pregnant students and students with children. Yet schools often push such students to drop out by making it impossible to complete classwork, preventing them from participating in extracurricular activities, refusing to accommodate schedule adjustments, punishing them with unwarranted disciplinary actions, and pressuring them to transfer or quit school altogether.

Denying these students an education, access to school activities and reasonable accommodations violates their rights. Public schools must ensure that pregnant students have access to the same accommodations that students with temporary medical conditions are given, including the ability to make up missed classwork and learn in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. Schools are also not allowed to punish students who choose to terminate a pregnancy or reveal a student’s private medical information.

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