As much as most people ignore them, student rights exist. Unfortunately, some students and parents are not aware of them. They play a critical role in education as they ensure that learning institutions are safe and support learning. That is through preventing discrimination, bullying, bigotry, and harassment.
Students need to know their rights. Parents, too, should know about the rights to ensure their children are enjoying a supportive education space. With this information, they will get equal and fair treatment at school.
1. Rights against discrimination
Learning institutions are prohibited from discriminating against students based on their gender, race, or origin. Title IX laws ensure all students are protected from this. This law provides that they are not denied access to education and other services based on gender, whether it is assigned at birth, identity, or sexual orientation.
Schools must not punish students for opposing gender discrimination or supporting investigations on such cases. The same law also applies to school staff against gender discrimination. Other discriminatory treatments prohibited by the law include denial of permission to participate in sports or reduced grades.
Harassment and expulsion from school programs based on students’ sex are also prohibited. It is worth noting that the law applies to educational institutions, universities, and colleges that receive federal funds.
If you feel that your rights under Title IX have been violated, reach out to Duffy Law for representation. It is also essential to read about the Title IX laws to learn more about your rights, or those of your child.
2. Freedom of speech and expression
Note that all Americans are allowed to think and speak freely. Most importantly, this applies even within the confines of education institutions. Freedom of speech goes a long way in creating a learning environment where students can share their ideas and develop them with the input of their peers and even educators.
The constitution allows people to express themselves, and therefore students should not be punished for expressing their beliefs through speech, art, or even dressing. Freedom of expression also allows them to hold the institutions accountable.
Learning institutions are expected to allow their students to speaking freely without fear, suppression, or intimidation. Worth noting also is that schools are allowed to limit students’ freedom of speech under certain situations.
For instance, if the expression or speech is lewd, it will disrupt the school or promote drug use. Vulgar and dangerous speech is also not allowed in a learning institution. As you learn about this right, it is vital to understand what is allowed and not.
3. Right to safety and well-being
Every student, regardless of their age, needs to be in a safe learning environment. They need to be in a space that they look forward to being and encourages their development and learning. Therefore, learning institutions should lay down strategies to ensure that students get structural safety; they are safe from fires, violence, bullying, and sexual abuse. Schools carry the responsibility of ensuring that learners are safe.
That could be through having discipline policies in place to protect learners from other students or staff. The institutions are also expected to ensure their structures are free from defects that could cause harm to the students.
The schools should also have policies that protect learners from weapons and direct the administration of medication to the learners. The federal government has also contributed to student safety by putting in place grant programs for security in schools.
Students can also participate in keeping their schools safe by sharing information with the administration. Some schools have programs that allow and encourage students to report things they may feel are a concern.
Schools are encouraged to make their spaces safer by adopting several initiatives. For instance, schools should run threat assessments to mitigate safety concerns before they escalate. They should also invest in metal detectors to keep weapons and other potentially harmful objects away from school.
Self-esteem programs are also vital to discourage bullying and to make students feel valued. These programs will help prevent violence among them.
4. Fair assessment
Learners have a right to fair assessment at school. All students have a right to equal opportunity to demonstrate what they understand and have learned. Blind grading practices are discouraged as they violate this right.
Assessments should ensure that students get grades that reflect their knowledge and skills. To meet the fairness criteria, tests must differentiate a learner’s performance effectively. They must also ensure that no student is disadvantaged. At this instant, consideration should be put on students that speak English as their second language.
Educators must also put into consideration individual students’ abilities in different subjects. All students have the right to score the correct grade. That is regardless of the exam they take and who marks their papers.
Fairness in assessment ensures that all students get access to fair education, regardless of their skills, learning capabilities, and backgrounds. All students have a right to demonstrate their skills, and schools are responsible for allowing them to do so in an uplifting and respectful way.
5. Rights to technology
We live in the digital era, and students have the right to technology. We are talking about the internet in schools, up-to-date software in schools, and devices. Technology is considered a basic need in today’s society and plays a critical role in the education system. This will ensure that all students have the opportunity to develop their skills for the current job market.
Students have a right to quality education and a fair chance at life. The lack of or existence of specific policies in learning institutions can deter this. This is why parents and students need to be conversant about their rights.
They have a right to diversity and inclusivity, and freedom of expression. Students need to feel safe in their school. This will support their learning and development. A fair assessment is critical in schools to ensure all students’ strengths are appreciated. They should also be allowed access to technology to enhance their competitiveness in the job market.