Student Rights

Schools have a responsibility to provide a safe learning environment. They also have a responsibility to respect student’s constitutional rights to privacy, free speech, and religion. See our Students Take Action! page for ways to make a difference at school or on campus.

Seclusion Rooms in Ohio

For years, Ohio schoolchildren — many of them disabled — have been routinely isolated in cell-like seclusion rooms or physically restrained by educators with little or no oversight from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

On April 9, 2013 …

For years, Ohio schoolchildren — many of them disabled — have been routinely isolated in cell-like seclusion rooms or physically restrained by educators with little or no oversight from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

On April 9, 2013 the State Board of Education finally passed rule 3301-35-15, governing the use of seclusion and restraints practices in Ohio schools. This rule is an important step for the many Ohio schools that secluded and restrained children without guidelines for years and adds extra protections like parental notification and oversight when a child is secluded or restrained.

Currently, the new rule only applies to traditional public schools and not public charter schools, leaving over 115,000 Ohio school children unprotected.  However, Ohio Senate Bill 266 has been just been introduced that would require public charter schools to comply with the ODE’s policies and standards for limiting the use of physical restraint and seclusion on students.

The ACLU of Ohio will continue working to ensure that all of Ohio’s public school children are given the same opportunities and protections.

We will keep you posted on opportunities to take action.

Zero Tolerance Makes Zero Sense

Years of zero-tolerance polices have proven to be ineffective, unfair, and excessive and the federal government has finally taken notice.  Acknowledging that discrimination in school discipline is a problem, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice recently issued …

Years of zero-tolerance polices have proven to be ineffective, unfair, and excessive and the federal government has finally taken notice.  Acknowledging that discrimination in school discipline is a problem, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice recently issued guidance to schools on the administration of discipline in a non-discriminatory manner.

The Ohio legislature is also examining zero-tolerance policies and taking a much-needed look at school discipline practices.  According to the Ohio Department of Education, over 210,000 students received out-of-school suspensions during the 2012-2013 school. Approximately 53,000 students were suspended for fighting, while 131,615 were suspended for disobedient or disruptive behavior.

Ohio Senate Bill 167 would eliminate zero-tolerance school policies for violent, disruptive, or inappropriate student behavior, including excessive truancy, and prohibits the adoption of such policies in the future. Instead, it requires each school district to create its own multi-factored policy to deal with incidents on a case-by-case basis. It also requires school boards to create alternative strategies for handling bullying and harassment, as well as other student behavioral issues.

The ACLU of Ohio is committed to challenging zero tolerance policies  that push children out of schools and into the justice system.

Read our testimony on S.B. 167

Read our blog post on the failure of zero tolerance in schools.

Are You Ready to Vote?

The Ohio Legislature has passed legislation that could make it harder for you to vote. Learn how to register and ensure your ballot is counted.

Ohio law allows high school seniors who are at …

The Ohio Legislature has passed legislation that could make it harder for you to vote. Learn how to register and ensure your ballot is counted.

Ohio law allows high school seniors who are at least 17 years old to serve as poll workers. Contact your local board of elections for details.

Students! Know Your Rights!

A publication of the ACLU of Ohio Foundation
This handbook outlines your rights as a public school student. Schools must balance the need to provide a …

A publication of the ACLU of Ohio Foundation

This handbook outlines your rights as a public school student. Schools must balance the need to provide a safe and orderly environment against a student’s rights to privacy, free speech, and religion. As a student, you have the power to make change. Student activists all over the country have been successful in challenging school policies or actions that violate the Constitution. You may consider starting an ACLU campus group at your school or find another way to educate students about the issues that you feel are important.

Use this guide in conjunction with your school’s handbook.  Talk with your parents, teachers or other school officials if you think someone’s rights have been violated.

Click here to read or download the guide.

Contents include information on:

  • Freedom of Speech and Expression
  • Religious Freedom
  • Search and Seizure
  • Discrimination
  • Discipline
  • Student Records
  • Military Recruitment

Click here to read or download the guide.

Schools have a responsibility to provide a safe learning environment. They also have a responsibility to respect student’s constitutional rights to privacy, free speech, and religion. See our Students Take Action! page for ways to make a difference at school or on campus.

National ACLU Resources – Youth Issues

National ACLU Resources – Student Rights

Learn more about Student Rights with a particular emphasis on technology at the ACLU national website.

Learn more about Student Rights with a particular emphasis on technology at the ACLU national website.

Prom Season: Know Your Rights

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Educators