ACLU Offers Help for Students and Teachers

Parents of middle school and high school students should be aware of the resources offered by the ACLU-Washington to help protect youth.

They have a great downloadable guide, "Student Rights and Responsibilities in the Digital Age; A Guide for Public School Students in Washington State"  with info on:

  • technology and free speech including using the internet at school and off-campus
  • recording people at school including other people's privacy and school surveillance cameras
  • searches at school
  • what to do if you believe your school has violated your rights
They are also having their annual Student Conference on Civil Liberties on April 14th from 9 am to 
1:00 pm at The Vera Project at Seattle Center.  

They also have resources for teachers including classroom speakers, free publications and a printable PDF of the Bill of Rights.  

They have an online order form for free publications including "bust cards"- wallet-sized "what to do if you are stopped by police" cards.   

I urge parents to either sit down with your student and explain what to do if stopped by a police officer and/or get one of these cards for him/her.  

I know what you're thinking; not my kid.  I will tell you what I told my own children; things happen.  

You can be out with your friends and doing nothing wrong but somehow you and your friends manage to be in the same place where a crime occurred and the police want to talk with your group.  

Or your child can have one dopey friend who DOES do something wrong and the police want to talk with the whole group.  

Things happen and police officers can be intimating and scary.  Better your child knows his or her rights and what to do than for you to get a phone call and your child says, "I didn't know what to do."  


Anonymous said…
To add on to this attempt by the ACLU to educate students of their rights and to know how to exercise those rights, it's also important to be ever vigilant of our abilities to hang on to those rights. Be vigilant of groups that are writing our state and federal laws to suit their politics and personal agenda. Be vigilant when our votes and citizenship are rendered less meaningful as our votes and voices are sidelined by these powerful interests who have access to our lawmakers with their money and means . Groups like ALEC are able to lobby and get state lawmakers to pass bills into laws. These laws cover voting rights, firearms, environment, collective bargaining, corporate liability, land use, education, and healthcare. These laws afffect all of us as citizens at every level.

NYT shares the concern in this editorial piece:

dw said…
Isn't ALEC behind some of the push for Feds to get detailed student records "for life"? Like from the time they enter Kingergarten until college? I did a quick search right now, and didn't find a reference, but I seem to remember them having their fingers in this as well.
Sahila said…
dw... I think that's a GATES/MURDOCH initiative... not 100% certain, but...
Sahila said…
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Sahila said…
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Anonymous said…
What about the rights of the regular 25 or 28 or 32 students who are working and who are trying, and whose class is time is stolen every week by the same core of off task interrupters?

Do the rights of the 25 or 32 take precedence over the rights of 3?

Reality isn't Leave It To Beaver.
Sahila said…
civil and special ed rights - ACLU issues Melissa... why did you remove those two directly relevant posts? Am I posting too much information for people's comfort?
Is posting information intimidating? Hogging the thread? Putting shy people off?
SP said…
Thank you Melissa for posting this, as all parents at one time or another might need to access this resource.

Besides the links you provided,the ACLU of WA
has other extensive brochures for students & parents in WA schools.

The 30+ page "Know your Rights" (different than the Digital Rights guide) is well worth reading, and should be used as a resource this spring when the Phase II policies are being reviewed, including the new student rights policies being introduced to SPS for the first time (remember the student newspaper fiasco earlier this year?).

Some of the ACLU resopurces online:

"Know Your Rights: A Guide for Public School Students in Washington"



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