Student Rights Information



The Freechild Project has found that students across the United States and Canada are standing up and demanding the schools they deserve. Part of those schools include the rights that every person is guaranteed as a human.  Court cases, civil rights organizations, and young people have defended these rights time and again, yet many schools do not honor students' rights, as learners, as citizens, or as humans. So young people continue to rally for the acknowledgement, protection, and support of their rights in school.


Point to Ponder

"Ironically, children are unsafe in public schools today not because of exposure to drugs and violence, but because they have lost their constitutional protections under the Fourth Amendment." - Randall Beger in "Expansion of Police Power in Public Schools and the Vanishing Rights of Students." Social Justice 29(1/2) (2002): 119-130.



The following list of websites, organizations and publications have been identified by youth researchers at Freechild. We have listed them in useful categories for young people and their adult allies. Click on the heading for resources.






Various Student Rights Resources

Tentler Student Rights
Articles, law cases and links regarding Student Rights. Included are such topics as Constitutional Rights, Academic Freedom, School Dress Codes, Book and Newspaper Censorship, Internet Access.

School Survival

Includes Tales of Protest - true stories of how people have protested school issues and current issues and news, Opinionz, the School Survival Kit, information on protesting, Comic Relief, and more!

Addressing Unprofessional Behavior
An individual's page that offers free counseling to [community college] students and professors who have problems concerning their constitutional rights or their academic freedom.

The Progressive Review: Youth and Schools
Information and articles about the rights and roles of students in public schools today.

About Student Rights
"Today's schools have become a little slice of the old Eastern Bloc." Includes information on free speech and search and seizures in schools.

Students Rights Now!
"Everything should be done to give adolescents their rights and an equal voice in the governing of the country of which they are legal citizens."


Power to the Youth

Power to the Youth is an organization of youth (and cool adults) around the nation who are taking charge of their schools, lives, and world


The Student As N----r

Foundational writing about the roles of students in schools by John Farber.


Our Overlawyered Schools
Keep track of the latest examples of schoolyard "fascism."





ACLU Chapters

Individual ACLU Student Rights Pages
Informing and education students and teachers with complete information about student rights, including youth researched and written opinion papers, on a per-state and national level.  These state chapters have specific websites for students rights - but every ACLU supports the rights of students in schools.  Check the national website for more information.

Special thanks to Anne for her contributions to this section.


Internet Censorship in Schools


Students Against School Internet Censorship

Founded to provide students with the means and opportunity to conduct action against internet censorship. We do not simply write essays explaining the problems with internet censorship - instead we focus on what we can do right now to change it.


Advocates open Internet access for all young people. Includes software that negates popular at-home blocking software.



Uniforms in Schools


Great Anti-Uniforms Page

Great links and information, including reasoning against uniforms, organizations around the country fighting uniforms, and more.


Anti-Mandatory Uniforms Page

We're a group of parents struggling to oppose mandatory uniforms in our otherwise excellent local public schools.  We hope to provide some on-line help to others in the same struggle, as well as hear from others who have had to fight this trend.


The Polk Country (FL) School Uniforms Page

The purpose of this site is to provide information for opponents of the Polk County (FL) School System's mandatory school uniform policy. The emphasis will be on countering the continuing attempts of the school board to deny parents their rights to opt their children out of the uniform policy.

Opt Out Policies Across the U.S.

Litigation Resulting From Mandatory School Uniform Policies


Free Speech in Schools


The Struggle for Student Rights : Tinker V. Des Moines and the 1960s (Landmark Law Cases and American Society)

"In our system, state-operated schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students in school as well as out of school are 'persons' under our Constitution." - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas.

The Free Student
An independent, online student journal, The Free Student aims to be the daily student newspaper of the United States.

A national network of students, professors, teachers and lawyers who work to protect constitutional rights in educational environments through education, advocacy and mediation concerning academic freedom and student rights issues nationwide. CO-STAR's services are available to all students, including individuals and groups in primary and secondary educational settings.


Zero Tolerance in Schools

Zero Tolerance Nightmares
This site publicizes the evils of zero tolerance school discipline policies and the harm that these policies are causing to children, parents and families throughout this country. It provides a resource for those current experiencing a nightmare and looking for help or advice. If you are fighting a zero tolerance nightmare, you have found a site that is sympathetic and supportive.


The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University


Search and Seizure in Schools


New Jersey vs. TLO

Entire Supreme Court decision in the New Jersey v. T.L.O case regarding searches and seizures in public schools. 


Student Searches and the Law

An administrative guide to searches on school campuses, by the National School Safety Center.

Random Drug Searches - A Loss of Liberty?


Racism in Schools


National Coalition of Advocates for Students

NCAS works to achieve equal access to a quality public education for students who are most vulnerable to school failure. NCAS' constituencies include low-income students, members of racial, ethnic and/or language minority groups, recent immigrants, migrant farmworkers, and those with disabilities. Focusing on kindergarten through grade 12, NCAS informs and mobilizes parents, concerned educators, and communities to help resolve critical education issues.


Youth of color in Massachusetts expelled at higher rates
According to the latest school exclusion report by the Massachusetts Department of Education, youth of color make up 23% of the total school population but represent 61% of all exclusions (i.e. expulsions) in the system.  In comparison to the total student enrollment, a disproportionate number of students excluded from school were African American and Latino.  For example, the exclusion rates for African American students, 4.1, and Latino students, 4.7, were significantly higher than rates for white students (0.7) and over the past three years, African American students accounted for the most significant rate change from 3.1 to 4.1 exclusions per 1000 students from 1999 to 2000.

Racism in Public Schools - What Students Say

This is a study of Cambridge (MA) high school’s twelfth grade students’ experiences with racial and ethnic diversity.  It is part of a series of studies by The Civil Rights Project across the country on what students in diverse and more segregated schools learn both in specific content areas and in preparation for adult life and work. 


Justice Matters Institute

The Educational Justice Program seeks to overcome the marginalization of people of color in schooling through dissemination of information and ideas, building community and networks, advocacy, and policy development.


Corporal Punishment in Schools


States permitting corporal punishment

from the American Association of Pediatrics


Corporal Punishment Resources

A great number of resources from Andrew Vachuss


Project No Spank

"A resource for students, parents, educators, health care professionals, policymakers, and everyone who believes that children's optimal development occurs in nurturing, violence-free environments and that every child has the right to grow and learn in such an environment."




School Records


The Right to Keep Your School Record Private
"The interest of the student must supersede all other purposes to which records might be put." – The National Education Association (NEA) Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities






Teen Privacy Rights: A Hot Issue by Deanna Durrett


Kids Law by John Biggers



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