Four Rights Every Student Should Be Aware Of Before Returning To School
Students are entitled to their separate rights and no one on Earth can deny you of that! But the thing is: many school officials and even students are unaware of basic students’ right or legal protections that these individuals are entitled to.
Thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine, everything has started going back to normal, with schools and colleges are now fully operational nationwide.
When returning to your school, make sure you know your rights and ensure that your school management treats every student equally and fairly.
Knowing your rights is especially important today more than ever, as protests for Black Live Matters and racism against Asian communities are on the rise. Agree or not, but students are not entirely immune to racism, political and social climates around the issues above.
Truth be told, you can’t really detach a student from politics. According to research, the worlds’ major social rights movements such as Occupy Wall Street, the Dakota Wall Street, March For Our Lives and Black Lives Matter have all arrived on college campuses and gained significant traction.
Apart from student activism and movements, another thing that often becomes blurry is what students’ rights are. We mean, many incidences in U.S history have displayed clear and terrible violation of students’ rights, including the shooting incident in Ohio.
So the point is, every student should know about their rights, whether you’re an activist or not! With the help of a law essay help, we have gathered a list of rights you should know before heading back to your schools.
Disclaimer: Before proceeding further, we would like to clear one thing: this blog does not contain any legal advice. If you believe that your rights are being violated, consult a professional legal advisor.
Right to Speech
Remember the iconic case of Tinker V. Des Moines Independent Community School District? In 1969, the ALCU sued the institution to suspend three students who showed up to school with armbands to protest against Vietnam War. The court ruled that both teachers and students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
According to the First Amendment, students cannot be held accountable for exercising their right to speech, even if it conflicts with school administrators’ beliefs. There are some incidences where school administrators have confiscated students’ personal belongings and forced them to reveal content from their mobile phones, social media accounts, and laptop. This is illegal and wrong, and you’ve all the right to stand up against such decisions.
Dress Code Policies
Your school administrators are allowed to enforce dress code policies, but they can’t stop students from expressing themselves. While it’s important to maintain a formal decorum at the school premises, it’s also important to note that most dress code policies are often used as a means of gender and racial discrimination.
Female students are being ridiculed and shame for their choice of attire, forcing them to conform to gender stereotypes. Students also get punished for wearing countercultural and political messages on the school premises.
The truth is: School used such policies as a cover for racial discrimination against students of colour, targeting them for wearing “gang” symbols or punishing them for wearing hair extensions and natural afro hairstyles. These policies also violated students’ religious rights by stopping students from wearing headscarves, rosaries, and other religious symbols.
If you’re asked to comply with the dress code policies you deem discriminatory, contact your legal advisor or other student activists such as ACLU.
- LGBT Rights
Sadly, bullying of LGBT students is very common in schools and is sometimes being encouraged or ignored by the school administrators themselves. LGBT student have all the rights as any other student has! They are free to express themselves inside and outside school. They don’t need to shed their identity at the school gates. In fact, School administrators are responsible for ensuring a secure safe learning and quickly addressing harassment incidences.
In addition to this, schools are not allowed to threaten students to “out” them in front of their parents. It’s both ethically and legally wrong to overlook the incidences of bullying or force them to adhere to anti-LGBT beliefs. Unfortunately, many transgender students suffer silently, as their school officials refuse to provide access to appropriate bathroom facilities and are hostile to refer to them with their preferred pronouns.
If you think that your college or school is neglecting or undermining your rights, please contact the ACLU LBGT project. Don’t be hesitant to report incidents of discrimination, bullying or biasness of school officials.
Policies regarding Personal Phones, Tablets, Laptops
Educational institutes are largely divided over whether or not allowing mobile phones would be the right decision. The debate around students using phones in school premises is widely disputed; some believe that the use of it hampers students’ academic performance while others see mobile phones as a commendable inclusion in education.
As far as mobile phone policies are concerned, students have the right to protect their phone privacy. However, school officials are allowed to limit the use of it in the school premises or classes, and they can even confiscate your mobile phones, obviously, for appropriate reasons.
But if they ask you to reveal the content on your mobile phone or social media phones, you can decline their request by all means. If you agreed to it, this means you’re forfeiting your right to privacy, allowing school officials to go through your phone and they can also use any information in it as evidence against you.
School officials much acquire a warrant to search and seizure before exploring students’ mobile phones. The warrant can only be acquired when there is a suspicion of a law violation by you. For instance, school administrators can get a warrant if they have strong evidence that you were violating a law by engaging with drug dealers through the phone.
And if they acquired a warrant, they will ONLY be permitted to search your text messages. Other content such as photos, contact and videos will be off-limit! The same policies apply to tablet, laptops and other digital gadgets.