August 2019

As your child heads back to school this year, make sure you know his/her rights and entitlements to services. Federal and state laws protect the rights of students in school, yet many parents are unaware of their child's legal protections as a student. Here are five rights that your child - from kindergarten to high school - possesses in a public school:

The Right to Be Safe

Ultimately, every parent's biggest concern is the safety of his or her child. Luckily, with certain limitations, teachers and administrators have the general duty to act as a parent when protecting their students, under the doctrine of in loco parentis. While this is not a guarantee of safety, your child has the right to supervision in school and the right to be safe from foreseeable harm, which should ease some of your worry.

The Right to Freedom of Speech

Especially in today's political climate, it is important to know when your school district is legally allowed to stop your child from protesting or speaking up. This is far less often than you probably imagine. Students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate," according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Under the First Amendment, students have the right to free speech, as long as it does not cause a substantial disruption in school or interfere with the rights of others. 

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