Student Rights

Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., shown in Washington in February 1976.
Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., shown in Washington in February 1976.
Associated Press
Law & Courts Right-to-Education Ruling Jolts Education-Advocacy World
The decision by a federal appeals court recognizing the right to a basic minimum education may be felt far beyond the substandard Detroit schools underlying it, but hurdles could remain.
Mark Walsh, April 29, 2020
10 min read
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From top, clockwise: Rachel Woolf, Gretchen Ertl, Rachel Woolf for Education Week
Social Studies Schools Teach Civics. Do They Model It?
Colorado students who led a peaceful protest at their school learned a hard lesson about civics—and it didn’t come from textbooks.
Stephen Sawchuk, May 7, 2019
18 min read
Law & Courts What Are Students' Constitutional Rights?
The First Amendment looks different in schools. (So do the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 14th.)
Stephen Sawchuk, May 7, 2019
2 min read
Reading & Literacy Right-to-Read Advocates Undeterred by Court Setback
A push to get a federal court to recognize a constitutional right to education continues, despite last month's dismissal of a Detroit right-to-read case.
Stephen Sawchuk, July 17, 2018
5 min read
Gavin Grimm, a transgender student, sued his Virginia school district after being denied access to the boys’ restroom at Gloucester High School in a high-profile case on the issue. He has since graduated.
Gavin Grimm, a transgender student, sued his Virginia school district after being denied access to the boys’ restroom at Gloucester High School in a high-profile case on the issue. He has since graduated.
Steve Helber/AP
Law & Courts Courts Take Expansive View in Transgender-Rights Cases
Two recent federal court rulings add to the growing body of decisions finding legal protections for transgender students in federal antidiscrimination law.
Mark Walsh, June 5, 2018
6 min read
Football players from Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti, Mich., kneel during the national anthem before a game against Milan High School on October 20.
Football players from Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti, Mich., kneel during the national anthem before a game against Milan High School on October 20.
Law & Courts Commentary No, Schools Can't Punish Student-Athletes for Taking a Knee
Students have a First Amendment right to protest—without getting kicked off their football team, writes attorney Frank D. LoMonte.
Frank D. Lomonte, October 23, 2017
5 min read
Journalism adviser Peter Riegelman, left, confers with student Ambyr Wagner during an editing session for The Mercury student newspaper at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, Vt. A new law in that state grants free-speech and free-press protections to both student journalists and their advisers.
Journalism adviser Peter Riegelman, left, confers with student Ambyr Wagner during an editing session for The Mercury student newspaper at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, Vt. A new law in that state grants free-speech and free-press protections to both student journalists and their advisers.
Caleb Kenna for Education Week
Law & Courts Legislative Measures Seek to Protect Student Press
More than a dozen states have been weighing bills to expand free-speech and free-press protections for student journalists and their teacher-advisers.
Madeline Will, June 6, 2017
7 min read
Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP
Edwin Lopez (No. 1) stands while most of his teammates kneel during the national anthem before Woodrow Wilson High School’s home game against Highland High School in Camden, N.J., last month. Colin Kaepernick’s protest against social injustices has sparked debate on a national level about patriotism and free speech.
Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP
Law & Courts Taking a Stand: How Schools Should Respond to National-Anthem Protests
A First Amendment expert says K-12 officials can't discipline students for acts of protest that don't disrupt school operations.
Evie Blad, October 4, 2016
5 min read
Gavin Grimm stands on the front porch of his home in Gloucester, Va., in 2015. The high school student, who was born female but identifies as male, says it's discriminatory to make him use the girls' room or a single-stall unisex restroom at school.
Gavin Grimm stands on the front porch of his home in Gloucester, Va., in 2015. The high school student, who was born female but identifies as male, says it's discriminatory to make him use the girls' room or a single-stall unisex restroom at school.
Steve Helber/AP
Law & Courts Schools Get Clarity on Transgender Student Restroom Access
A federal appeals court ruling that Title IX protects the rights of students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity could have far-reaching implications for schools.
Evie Blad, April 22, 2016
5 min read
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s courtroom chair is draped in black to mark his death. The vacancy has set off a political battle, and left the outcome of several cases in the balance.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s courtroom chair is draped in black to mark his death. The vacancy has set off a political battle, and left the outcome of several cases in the balance.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Law & Courts Scalia's Death Muddies Fate of Education Cases
The unexpected vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court comes with several disputes being closely watched by K-12 educators—including one involving union fees—still pending.
Mark Walsh, February 19, 2016
10 min read
Thomas Lewis, an 18-year-old transgender student at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, S.D., speaks out against legislation that advocacy groups have said would discriminate against transgender people during a news conference last month in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Thomas Lewis, an 18-year-old transgender student at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, S.D., speaks out against legislation that advocacy groups have said would discriminate against transgender people during a news conference last month in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Joe Ahlquist/Argus Leader via AP
Law & Courts South Dakota Could Be First State to Restrict School Restrooms Used by Transgender Students
A bill awaiting action from the South Dakota governor would require transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match with their biological sex at birth.
Evie Blad, February 19, 2016
6 min read
School Climate & Safety Schools Weigh Access to Students' Social-Media Passwords
State lawmakers and school district officials are again wrestling with questions about schools' authority to access and monitor students' social-media accounts.
Benjamin Herold, February 17, 2015
5 min read
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Brent Greenwood for Education Week; image text from Winona Daily Republican, 1863
Student Well-Being Commentary My High School Mascot Is Offensive
Under fire from officials in her Pennsylvania school district, student newspaper editor Gillian McGoldrick defends her stance against publishing the name of an offensive mascot.
Gillian Mcgoldrick, February 17, 2015
5 min read
Alex Caputo-Pearl, the president-elect of United Teachers Los Angeles, speaks with the media before a press conference outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles on Tuesday after a judge ruled that key job protections for teachers violate the state's constitution. "This decision today is an attack on teachers, which is a socially acceptable way to attack children," said Mr. Caputo-Pearl.
Alex Caputo-Pearl, the president-elect of United Teachers Los Angeles, speaks with the media before a press conference outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles on Tuesday after a judge ruled that key job protections for teachers violate the state's constitution. "This decision today is an attack on teachers, which is a socially acceptable way to attack children," said Mr. Caputo-Pearl.
Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/MCT
School & District Management Teacher Protections Violate Student Rights, Calif. Judge Finds
The ruling, which the state's teachers' unions have vowed to appeal, finds that California laws governing teacher tenure and dismissal violate the constitutional rights of students.
Stephen Sawchuk, June 11, 2014
8 min read