School is a place where you start to wonder why things are the way they are. You may want to question school authorities and adults, and sometimes that makes them uncomfortable. Go ahead and ask questions, but don’t forget to be respectful. A reasonable degree of discipline and order keeps the educational environment a place where everyone can learn.
Learn your rights so you can protect them. It takes courage but you are not alone, and there are people who can support you. Stand up for your rights!
Students’ Rights & Responsibilities
Students have rights – and responsibilities! You have both substantive and procedural rights. Your substantive rights include the right to speak freely, to privacy, to a basic education, to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, to exercise your freedom of religion, and to be free from unlawful discrimination. Your procedural rights include the right to know what the rules are, to be notified when someone thinks you broke the rules, to tell your side of the story, and to appeal decisions of school officials.
As a student, you also have responsibilities. You have to go to school, and while you are there, you must follow the school’s lawful rules.
Stand Up for Yourself! How to be Your Own Advocate
Teachers and school officials usually want to do what’s right, even if they sometimes get it wrong. If you believe your rights have been violated, here are some steps that may help you explain why school officials should agree with you. Remember, you are not alone! Ask a sympathetic teacher, a parent or other adult for help. You can also contact the Wyoming ACLU.
Learn Your Rights
You have rights under both federal and state laws, including the U.S. Constitution, the Wyoming Constitution, and the Wyoming Education Code. The Wyoming Department of Education may have additional information. However, the best place to start is to learn your own school’s policies and procedures. You can usually find these in your student handbook or on your school’s website. You can also ask a teacher, the principal, or someone at the school district office.
If you have a question, this guide can help. If you can’t find the answer, ask a counselor or a teacher. You can also contact the Wyoming ACLU.
Download the Know Your Rights: A Guide for Public School Students in Wyoming report below.