y and m onlinestudent rightseye
barIssuesActivismChoicesMagazineFor the MediaResourcesbar
life in the military
Photo: Barbara A. Bloom

High School Students' Rights


Also: Kansas Students Say NO to Forced Military Testing (Dec. 2000, Y&M Magazine)

The following is from an article in the October 2000 Y&M Magazine. A print version is also available.

Other Issues:

Alternatives to the Military
Child Soldiers
Dealing with the Draft
Recruitment and Enlistment

... and more

Say What?: High School Students' Rights

As a student or young person, you've undoubtedly had people – teachers, parents, coaches – tell you what you could do or say about something. You may even have had someone tell you that you couldn't express your opinion, especially about a controversial subject, such as violence among young people, war, or government policy. But you do have a right to your opinions and a right to (respectfully) share them with others – even in your public school.

This is especially important to know today: concerns over "school safety," especially following high-profile school shootings, have led some schools to try to restrict or punish the speech or actions of students even further. Schools may especially fear anything that they think could lead to violence – for instance, fights between people or groups with very different opinions.

Concerns over "school safety" have led some schools to try to restrict or punish the speech or actions of students even further.

You do have rights, although the full story is a little complicated. You can't just do or say anything you want at any time you want (more on this later). There is no one set of rules that says what rights public school students do and don't have. Local laws are often different from federal laws: state laws and school board regulations vary from place to place. (Private schools have more room to set their own guidelines.) What follows is not advice that should dictate your strategy but an outline of what some of the current rights are. In fact, many successes have occurred when students have tested the application of such guidelines and rulings.

spacerabout ussite mapFAQscontact usFeatureshomeAFSC home

issues | activism | making choices | for the media | magazine | resources
about us | site map | FAQs | contact us | new features | Y&M home | Peacebuilding Programs | AFSC home

© American Friends Service Committee · National Youth & Militarism Program 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001.