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Resources >> Advocacy >> Know Your Rights

Students' Rights

The rights of public school students and student-led advocacy


Know Your Rights: Handbook for Pennsylvania Public School Students | ACLU-PA, June 2017 Booklet in Q&A format discusses students' rights, when they can be exercised, when school officials can limit them, and offers practical tips for students.

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2023 Back-to-School Guide for Pennsylvania Public School Students, Education Law Center, August 2021

Those “Free” Remote Learning Apps Have A High Cost: Your Student’s Privacy, ACLU, March 27, 2020


Lawsuit Says Diversion Program Meant to Keep Troubled Kids Out of the Criminal Justice System Violates Their Constitutional Rights, American Bar Association Journal, May 1, 2019 

Schools Need a Lesson on Students’ Free Speech Rights | ACLU, September 18, 2018

ACLU-PA's Guidance on Student Walkouts, ACLU of Pennsylvania, March 16, 2018

Student Walkout Over Guns Poses Balancing Act for Schools | Associated Press, March 11, 2018

Can Schools Discipline Students for Protesting? | ACLU, February 22, 2018

Students' Rights on the Internet and Social Media | PBS NewsHour, June 2017

This video discusses what schools can and cannot do as a result of a students' online activity and the opinion expressed on their social media accounts. 

‘How Far Can They Go?’ Police Search of Hundreds of Students Stokes Lawsuit and Constitutional Questions | New York Times, June 13, 2017

All Schools Should Look At This Dress Code That Finally Gets It RightScaryMommy

5 Things Public Schools Can Do and Can't Do When it Comes to Dress Codes | ACLU Women's Rights Project, May 2017

Know Your Rights: Interacting with Police in Schools | ACLU, 2016

Note: This is a national publication. Some state laws may vary.

Know Your Rights: LGBT High School Students | ACLU, 2017

This guide explains what you can do if you think your school is discriminating against you because of your gender identity or sexuality.

Measuring Up: How to Make Sure Your School Complies with Massachusetts' Student Discipline Laws | 2016

This booklet for students and their families contains information about how to get your school’s disciplinary data, get connected to other families and organizations working on changing school discipline, and get more information about protecting your rights.

Defending Clients Who Have Been Searched and Interrogated at School: A Guide for Juvenile Defenders

School Discipline in Pennsylvania Education Law Center of PA

Fact sheet provides parents and students with an overview of Pennsylvania law pertaining to suspensions, expulsions, and transfers to alternative schools in public and charter schools.


Youth Speak Out on the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Miami, FL

Advancement Project and Power U Center for Social Change released a Comic-book style resource written by youth for youth on the need for restorative practices to reverse the school-to-prison pipeline. A year later both organizations partnered up again to produce a video where student's vocalize their opinions and experiences with the school-to-prison pipeline.

Youth Call for Restorative Justice Practices in New York City, NY

Global Action Project & Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice released a youth-produced short film that calls for restorative justice as an alternative method to the unjust zero tolerance policies and over-policing that students face in New York City public schools.

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