January 12, 2020 | Student Rights
Public schools in Virginia can censor student journalists any time, for any reason. A proposed law would change that.
Kate Karstens knew she’d nailed the story when the Yale-bound son of a school board member confessed to skipping class more than two dozen times — without consequences.
It was 2016, near the end of her junior year, and Karstens had spent weeks reporting an article about chronic absenteeism at George Mason High School in Northern Virginia, tracing administrators’ failure to punish offenders. Now, Karstens raced from the interview to tell Peter Laub, faculty adviser for the student newspaper, the Lasso. After a few rounds of editing, they pressed publish...
January 4, 2020 | Student Rights
School violated student’s 1st Amendment rights over parody Instagram account, lawsuit claims
BAY CITY, MI — The father of an area teen has filed a federal lawsuit against Freeland Community School District, claiming it violated his son’s constitutional rights when it suspended him for a creating an Instagram account mocking a teacher...
January 2, 2020 | Student Rights
ISU faces lawsuit claiming violation of students’ First Amendment rights
AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University is facing a lawsuit claiming student speech and other civil rights have been infringed upon.
A civil suit filed on January 2 by Speech First, presenting as a nonprofit membership association to combat restrictions on free speech, focuses on three areas of concern...
December 11, 2019 | Student Rights
Justice Department Backs Free-Speech Lawsuit Against Mississippi Junior College: U.S. Is ‘Not a Police State’
The Justice Department weighed in on a federal campus free-speech lawsuit on Monday, proclaiming that neither Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi, nor any other public educational institution, can “trample on” its students’ First Amendment rights...
December 4, 2019 | Student Rights
‘Hunger-Free Student Bill of Rights’ bill introduced in Michigan Senate
Students from lower-income families are losing access to lunch and being subject to public embarrassment by schools because of it.
That’s according to state Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) who seeks an end to “lunch shaming” policies in schools such as being given barebones meals, having to wear wristbands or performing chores in exchange for meals...
November 18, 2019 | Student Rights
Binghamton University student protesters clash over gun rights: What we know
A confrontation between two groups on Binghamton University's campus got heated over a display supporting gun rights Thursday afternoon, hours after a shooting in a California high school.
The gathering on BU's campus drew a response by University Police officers, and has since sparked discussion among BU officials and student groups about free speech on campus and whether the university's response to the incident was appropriate...
November 13, 2019 | Student Rights
Ohio House passes bill it says will protect students’ religious liberties at school
The Ohio House on Wednesday approved legislation that would protect student rights to religious expression in public schools, including prayer, school assignments, artwork and clothing.
Lawmakers passed House Bill 164 by a vote of 61-31 and sent it to the Senate for consideration...
November 7, 2019 | Student Rights
Central Washington University students protest for the right to free student press
Students at Central Washington University are protesting the school in support of free student press.
"We're going to be stepping outside in order to protest against administrative censorship and content regulation that's been going on for the past year," said Mariah Valles...
October 28, 2019 | Student Rights
How a lawsuit over Detroit schools could have an ‘earth-shattering’ impact
After two years of struggling to pass any of his community college classes, Jamarria Hall, 19, knows this for certain: His high school did not prepare him.
The four years he spent at Detroit’s Osborn High School were “a big waste of time,” he said, recalling 11th and 12th grade English classes where students were taught from materials labeled for third or fourth graders, and where long-term substitutes showed movies instead of teaching...
October 24, 2019 | Student Rights
Furman policy encourages students not to wear Halloween costumes that ‘reinforce stereotypes,’ ‘demean’
Furman University is encouraging students to think critically about costumes this year ahead of Halloween.
Last year, the school added an example to its "Acts of Intolerance" policy to include themed parties with costumes that "reinforce stereotypes or are otherwise demeaning." The policy says incidences that demonstrate bias against others could prompt investigation from the university...
October 1, 2019 | Student Rights
Virginia teacher sues after being fired for refusing to call trans student ‘he’
A Virginia high school teacher who was fired for refusing to use a transgender student’s new pronouns has filed a lawsuit.
The Washington Post reported that Peter Vlaming filed suit on Monday against West Point Public Schools, a system outside Richmond.
The French teacher was fired in December 2018, having told superiors at West Point high school his religion prevented him from using male pronouns for a student who had informed the school of his transition during the previous summer...
September 19, 2019 | Student Rights
UW Oshkosh student says his rights have been violated in sexual assault investigation, pushes federal lawsuit
Fallout from a sexual encounter between two UW Oshkosh students has landed in federal court, with the male plaintiff arguing that the school has “flagrantly violated” his constitutional rights in pursuing the matter.
The case stems from a party sponsored on March 16 by a campus sorority at Winkler’s Westward Ho on County Road S, according to court papers. One of the sorority sisters invited a member of a campus fraternity to attend as her guest, and the two of them took part in the event along “with many other male and female students of the university,” the court filing says...
September 13, 2019 | Student Rights
Federal judge supports student’s right to hand out valentines with Bible messages at Wisconsin technical college
A federal judge in Green Bay ruled Friday that Northeast Wisconsin Technical College violated the First Amendment when officials ordered a student to stop handing out Valentine's Day cards containing messages from the Bible, including "Jesus Loves You!" and "God is Love!"
Polly Olsen, 29, a Green Bay woman studying to become a paralegal, filed a lawsuit against the college a little more than a year ago and came to the attention of President Donald Trump, who invited her to the White House in March...
September 3, 2019 | Student Rights
School board files appeal to defend its transgender policy
RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia school board has filed a federal appeal to defend its transgender bathroom ban.
The Gloucester County School Board's appeal appeared Tuesday on the docket for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. Briefs containing legal arguments will come next...
August 7, 2019 | Student Rights
A satirical student publication’s free speech rights may have been violated, court says
CALIFORNIA — A student-run satirical publication will proceed with its lawsuit against the University of California San Diego now that an appeals court has reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the case.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit says that the university may have violated students’ rights to free speech. The ruling is a victory for free speech and First Amendment advocates, and for student journalism on campus affected by punishment aimed at The Koala...
August 19, 2019 | Student Rights
A Texas school district is being sued after a student was forced to color in his haircut with a Sharpie
School officials in Pearland, Texas, are being sued after a seventh-grade student was forced to fill in his hair design with a black Sharpie marker earlier this year. A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed Sunday against Principal Tony Barcelona, Discipline Clerk Helen Day, another official and the Pearland School District...
August 9, 2019 | Student Rights
School that barred transgender student Gavin Grimm from boys’ restroom violated his rights, judge rules
The constitutional rights of a transgender student were violated when he was barred from using the boys’ restroom at his Virginia high school, a federal judge ruled Friday.
The student, Gavin Grimm, said the ruling sent the message that “discrimination is not legal in America.” But the 20-year-old, who has graduated from the high school where he was banned from the boys’ restroom, acknowledged that the school system could appeal the decision, and it is “likely that this is not the end.”...
August 1, 2019 | Student Rights
Students’ free speech rights survive school prayer lawsuit
A judge’s ruling that struck down school-sponsored prayers at a South Carolina public school also represents a legal win for students’ individual rights, says a religious liberty attorney...
July 12, 2019 | Student Rights
New Jersey passes ‘student borrower bill of rights’ in a bid to crack down on loan servicers
The New Jersey legislature has passed a “student borrower bill of rights” that regulates companies that service student loans, part of a national trend as America deals with its $1.6 trillion student-debt crisis.
The bill forces companies like Navient, FedLoan, and other student-loan servicers to register with the Department of Banking and Insurance and comply with borrower-friendly protections. Violations would attract a $10,000 fine the first time and $20,000 for subsequent ones. It also creates a student loan ombudsman in the state agency...
July 3, 2019 | Student Rights
Sheffield University student wins Facebook post appeal
Felix Ngole, 39, was removed from a postgraduate social work course at the University of Sheffield in 2016 after posting the Facebook comment.Judges overturned a previous court ruling and said the university should reconsider Mr Ngole's case.The university said it was considering its response to the judgement...
June 26, 2019 | Student Rights
Rejection of LGBTQ student group leads to a fight at “unambiguously Christian” Baylor
Gay and lesbian students were hopeful a 2015 policy change could pave their way to more rights at Baylor University, one of the country’s most prominent Baptist colleges.But four years later, LGBTQ students at the Waco school say they’re still waiting for that recognition to arrive...
June 18, 2019 | Student Rights
Censored MAGA hat in central Pennsylvania yearbook: Freedom of speech violation?
A blurred MAGA hat in an Adams County high school yearbook has raised questions in the community about public high school students and freedom of speech. At Littlestown Senior High School, a photo published in the school's 2019 yearbook shows two boys wearing red hats during spirit week. The boys say the "Make America Great Again" slogan, popularized by President Trump, was obscured...
June 19, 2019 | Student Rights
GOP Sen. Josh Hawley takes aim at Big Tech’s legal protection with new bill
Sen. Josh Hawley has announced legislation that would remove tech titans’ protection from liability for third-party content on their platforms.The Missouri senator’s bill specifically targets Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act...
June 11, 2019 | Student Rights
Maine Legislature passes ‘Student Loan Bill of Rights’
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Maine lawmakers have passed a "Student Loan Bill of Rights" aiming to protect borrowers.The Senate unanimously enacted the legislation Monday. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has 10 days to act on the bill or let it go into law without her signature...
June 5, 2019 | Student Rights
Civil rights groups urge consumer bureau to root out discrimination in the student-loan servicing industry
Civil rights organizations are urging the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to step up oversight of the student-loan servicing industry and root out discrimination.It has been two years since the bureau identified student-loan servicing as posing substantial risk of credit discrimination and pledged further investigation into disparate outcomes for borrowers. That level of evaluation requires records and data from servicing companies that manage student-loan payments on behalf of the federal government and private lenders...
May 28, 2019 | Student Rights
Supreme Court won’t hear case on transgender school bathroom policy
The Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to hear a case challenging a Pennsylvania school district’s bathroom policy allowing transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice.The conservative Alliance Defending Freedom represented a group of students in the case, Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, alleging that the district’s policy violates student privacy. ADF has represented students and school districts in similar lawsuits across the country...
May 11, 2019 | Student Rights
3 students sue Oley Valley, claiming their rights were violated by spring musical director
Toward the end of March, a group of Oley Valley High School drama students made their way to the former composing room floor of the Reading Eagle, performing a number from their spring musical, the Broadway hit “Newsies.”What wasn't known at the time the students sang and danced to the song “Carrying the Banner” was the drama unfolding behind the scenes between cast members and the musical's director, Stacy Lyons...
May 7, 2019 | Student Rights
Fordham hopes free-speech lawsuit will fade as last plaintiff graduates
The last of four students who sued Fordham University over the denial of a Palestinian rights club will graduate this month, but the court battle is not over.Sophomore Veer Shetty has asked to join the two-year old lawsuit, and the university is going to court on Wednesday to try to stop him.“It would be a travesty if we weren’t able to have the club on campus just because all the people suing have graduated,” Shetty said in a recent interview. “I was happy to step in.”...
April 24, 2019 | Student Rights
Teacher Accuses High School of Free Speech Censorship Over Article About Student in Adult Entertainment Industry
A California high school English teacher accused administrators of censoring free speech after the district required a pre-publication review of an article, which chronicled a student’s journey in the adult entertainment industry.The Lodi Unified School District’s legal responsibility to ensure the student newspaper didn't violate the education code prompted a request to see a copy of the controversial article. However, Kathi Duffel, an English teacher at Bear Creek High School in Stockton, California, and advisor for The Bruin Voice, accused the school of attempting to squelch the voice of the paper...
April 15, 2019 | Student Rights
Parents group drops lawsuit over District 211 transgender policy
A group of parents and students Monday dropped their 2016 federal lawsuit against Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 over policies allowing a transgender student limited access to a girls locker room.The move comes just weeks after a judge dismissed portions of the suit, including counts alleging the district violated others students' rights to bodily privacy and their parents' rights to direct their education...
April 10, 2019 | Student Rights
Student accuses Clark University of gender discrimination in federal lawsuit after sexual exploitation investigation
A Clark University freshman who says he was falsely accused of removing a condom during sex has filed a federal lawsuit against the university, claiming he was the victim of gender-based discrimination in being found responsible for violating the school’s sexual exploitation provision.The lawsuit, filed Friday, claims such discrimination has occurred at the Worcester university before, citing a 2015 case in which another freshman accused of rape was allegedly expelled without investigation...
March 26, 2019 | Student Rights
Dept. of Human Rights joins transgender student discrimination lawsuit against Anoka-Hennepin
ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Department of Human Rights and Attorney General Keith Ellison are joining a lawsuit that claims the Anoka-Hennepin Schools District discriminated against a transgender student by not allowing him to change in the locker room with his peers.The lawsuit was originally filed last month by several organizations, including the Minnesota ACLU...
March 19, 2019 | Student Rights
Student claims civil rights violation after transgender student uses women’s locker room
A high school student in Pennsylvania has filed a complaint against her school, claiming that her civil rights were violated, and that she was subjected to sexual harassment,when a transgender student used the same locker room as her.An attorney working with the teen has already filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division, detailing the female student’s experience in a Honesdale High School locker room earlier this year...
March 17, 2019 | Student Rights
A Fairfax County student was accused of sexual harassment. He says the school system discriminated against him.
A Northern Virginia high school student is suing the state’s largest school system, arguing he faced discrimination after a classmate accused him of sexual harassment.The 18-year-old, identified as “John Doe” in court papers, said that Fairfax County Public Schools inadequately investigated accusations leveled against him by a female student at Robinson Secondary School. The male student, who has a 3.2 grade-point average and was on the school’s wrestling team, was transferred to an alternative school and placed on probationary status, according to the lawsuit...
March 12, 2019 | Student Rights
Ohio student suspended after posting Bible verses around school: ‘I wanted to spread the word of God’
A high school student in Ohio is speaking out after she was suspended for posting Bible verses in her school in response to LGBT pride flags displayed in hallways.
Gabby Helsinger, a Lebanon High School student, posted a video on Facebook Friday claiming she is being punished for “targeting” the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club.
“On Thursday when I got to school, I see that there were pride flags, posters around my school,” Gabby said in the video. “And I felt the need to write down some Bible verses so I could put them around my school. And I wrote them down and I put them around the lockers, the walls.”...
March 5, 2019 | Student Rights
Shawnee Mission district settling ACLU lawsuit over free speech at gun protests
The Shawnee Mission school board at a special meeting Tuesday night agreed to a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union over a lawsuit alleging the district violated students’ First Amendment rights during a protest against gun violence.
The ACLU had filed the lawsuit in federal court last year alleging that the school district violated students’ freedom of speech when school officials abruptly stopped student-led rallies for April’s National Student Walkout Day...
February 26, 2019 | Student Rights
Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of trans student in Blue Springs bathroom case
A transgender student who was denied access to the boys bathroom and locker room by the Blue Springs school district has the right to sue for sex discrimination, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
In a 5-2 decision, the court overturned a Jackson County court’s dismissal of the student’s lawsuit against the district, ruling in favor of the student, identified in court records as R.M.A...
February 19, 2019 | Student Rights
Civil rights complaint being filed for 11-year-old Lakeland student arrested after confrontation for not standing for Pledge of Allegiance
Ford’s comments stem from the arrest and suspension of the sixth-grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy on Feb. 4 after the student refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and was then asked to stand up by a substitute teacher, Ana Alvarez.
“I asked the student to stand up for the pledge and he answered that he won’t because the flag of this country was racist,” Alvarez wrote in a statement to police. “He then started to explain why the National Anthem was offensive to black people.”...
February 13, 2019 | Student Rights
Christian student challenged a school history lesson on Islam and lost in court
As a high school junior, Caleigh Wood refused to complete a history lesson on “The Muslim World” that she said forced her to embrace Islam in conflict with her Christian faith — and the Constitution.
A federal appeals court this week disagreed, saying school officials in Southern Maryland had not violated Wood’s First Amendment rights because the curriculum did not endorse a particular religion “and did not compel Wood to profess any belief.”...
February 7, 2019 | Student Rights
Conservative students say universities are ‘stifling’ free speech on Iowa campuses
One day after a federal court ruled in favor of a Christian group that argued it was discriminated against by the University of Iowa, conservative students visited the Capitol to advocate for a bill seeking to promote free speech on campus.
"I believe personally that some of the violations of our free speech have affected the conservative groups on campus more than other groups and I would like to remedy that," said Trevor Kems, a sophomore at Iowa State University studying computer engineering who spoke Thursday in favor of the bill...
February 4, 2019 | Student Rights
New University policy requires disclosure of felony charges and convictions within a week for all faculty and staff
The University of Michigan implemented a new policy Monday requiring members of the community to disclose all charges and convictions of felonies within a week of the charge or conviction. The policy applies to all faculty and staff, including student employees, volunteers and visiting scholars...
January 28, 2019 | Student Rights
A High School Allegedly Banned Students From Covering A Classmate’s Arrest
At the beginning of the school year, one of Kyra Howard's high school classmates abruptly stopped showing up for classes.
Nobody at Plainfield High School in Indiana knew what had happened to the student, Levi Stewart, and school administrators weren’t talking. Some kids guessed he’d been suspended. Among a suburban high school of 1,600 students, his absence was noticed because he was active on campus and a drum major in the state champion school marching band. "He was a prominent kid around school," said Howard, who as a student journalist may have been more curious than others...
January 22, 2019 | Student Rights
Lawsuits: Michigan State is biased against males in sex assault cases
More than three years of missteps in handling sexual assault cases has made Michigan State University swing the pendulum from not believing victims to now discriminating against male students, three lawsuits allege...
December 28, 2018 | Student Rights
Lawsuit over Cy-Fair student’s refusal to stand for Pledge of Allegiance settled
HOUSTON - A lawsuit over a student’s refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance that started more than a year ago was settled this week.
The litigation started in 2017 after then-17-year-old Windfren High School student India Landry was expelled after refusing for the 200th time to stand for the pledge...
December 3, 2018 | Student Rights
Judge dismisses the lawsuit filed by Arrowhead High School student who sued over her soccer suspension
A Waukesha County Circuit judge has dismissed an Arrowhead High School student's lawsuit against the school, which she filed this spring after the school district suspended her from four soccer games for hosting a party at her parents' house at which underage drinking took place...
November 30, 2018 | Student Rights
Osseo High student accuses school officials fo violating her rights
An Osseo Senior High School student who identifies as transgender has accused school officials of violating her rights in a Nov. 28 incident in one of the school bathrooms…
November 30, 2018 | Student Rights
Police arrested Montgomery High students in operation disguised as active shooter drill
San Diego police officers floated the unorthodox idea first: Hold an active shooter drill. Lock down your classrooms. Then let us come in and arrest four students…
November 30, 2018 | Student Rights
Cal Poly is threatening free speech, say students who were warned for protesting Raytheon
Five Cal Poly students who protested the relationship between the defense contractor Raytheon and the university at a fall campus career fair say school officials are trying to intimidate them from exercising their free speech rights…
November 23, 2018 | Student Rights
Judge orders Hamilton County Schools to pay $103,274 in student disability rights case
The Hamilton County Department of Education has to pay a family roughly $103,000 in a landmark student disability rights case, per a federal judge's order Tuesday…
November 19, 2018 | Student Rights
Ex-student’s suit says Gwinnett violated her rights in sex-assault case
A former Gwinnett County Public Schools student has filed a federal lawsuit against the school district alleging a civil rights violation over a sexual assault complaint…
November 5, 2018 | Student Rights
NWTC denies it violated student’s rights in Valentine’s Day card case
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College denies it violated a student’s Constitutional rights when it stopped her from distributing religious-themed Valentine’s Day cards on campus…
- Student Rights and the Freedom of Expression
- Minersville School District v. Gobitis (1940)
- Morse v. Frederick (2007)
- Pottawatomie v. Earls (2002)
- Owasso v. Falvo (2001)
- Bethel v. Fraser (1986)
- New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)
- Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)
- Affirmative Action and the Constitution
- Affirmative Action
- Do University Students have a Right to Carry Concealed Weapons on Campus?
- Too Young to Vote, but Not to March: Lessons in Youth Civic Engagement
- Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982)
- Free Speech or “Safe” Speech?