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K-12 Student Rights At School

Free, Student Rights, Educational Counseling Since 1975

For High School, Middle School and Elementary School Students And Parents In Public and Private Schools

Offered By

Boyer P. August



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To Learn How To Advocate And To Organize Students And Parents To Ensure Those Educational Rights



Boyer P. August, Ed. D., M. S.

  High School Teacher, Administrator

    Marriage, Family and Child Therapist

      Educational Consultant, Student Advocate



“Our answer is the world’s hope; it is to rely on youth ­– not a time of life, but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.”  Robert Kennedy



Did You Know That It Is Illegal When:


You Are Embarrassed, In Front Of The Class, By A Teacher?

You Serve Detention During Lunch Or On Saturday?

You Are Given Laps Or Pushups As A Punishment?

You Are Not Allowed To Go To The Bathroom?

You Are Locked Out Of Your Class?

You Pay For Parking Spaces?


For More K-12 Student Rights, Click On Questions



a handbook on student rights and responsibilities

with an emphasis on California law

34th Edition July 4, 2019

© July 4, 1975



Preface To Our Handbook


            In 1975, the National Education Association wrote that there were two kinds of educational rights for students. As citizens in their society, they have a right to fair treatment in their schools.  As clients of a public institution, they have the right to influence the services their institutions provide for them.


             Students, therefore, have the right to substantial influence over their educational programs including the goals they pursue, the topics they study, the learning materials and learning processes they use and the criteria for evaluating their accomplishments.


          Too often school-aged children suffer a sub-culture of incompetence.  Too often, a vandalism of the mind is struck in place of originality, enthusiasm, self-discovery, initiative, growth or control.  Too seldom are the beauty of genuine education revealed and the joy of learning allowed to be felt, nourished and shared.


In Brown vs. The Board of Education, 1954, the United States Supreme Court said that today education is perhaps the most important function of the states and local governments.  It is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he/she is denied the opportunity of an education. Since all states have, in fact, undertaken to provide a public education system, education must be considered a right in that it may not be arbitrarily denied to anyone.


          It is with these values that I urge you to consider this Handbook.


Boyer P. August

July 4, 1975



Handbook Description


§  An Easy to Understand Summary

§  Of K-12, Public and Private School, Educational Rights


§  A Clear, Documented Resource for Student Safety and Well-Being

§  A Review of Educational Law Affecting Students From 1874 To the Present


§  Published Since 1975 With Yearly Revisions

§  Legal Information Related to Both The Rights And Responsibilities Of Students


Handbook Citations Taken From


§  United States Supreme Court Decisions

§  United States Federal Court Decisions


§  California Supreme Court Decisions

§  California Appellate Court Decisions

§  California Superior Court Decisions


§  California Attorney General Opinions

§  California Education, Welfare And Health Codes

§  California Code Of Regulations, Civil And Penal Codes



Handbook Revisions From Our 34th Printing

July 4, 2019



New Laws Include:Top of Form


1.           Charter School Transparency Bill      

2.           Students May Sue The State When Districts Engage in Discriminatory Discipline Practices


3.           Restraint And Seclusion Of Students

4.           “willful defiance” Law Extended


5.           Hairstyle Discrimination Associated With Race Is Racial Discrimination

6.           New Law Limits Collection And Penalties Of Student Debts


7.           New Graduation Ceremony Dress Code

8.           Honorary High School Diplomas


9.           Retroactive High School Diplomas

10.        New Help For Pregnant And Parenting Students


11.        Required Annual Notice Of Parental Rights And Responsibilities

12.        California Youth Football Act


13.        Suicide Prevention Policies    

14.        Suicide Prevention Hotline On Student Identification Cards


15.        Law To Protect Student Athletes: SCA And The AED

16.        Sex Health Education Resources Expanded 


17.        Bullying Prevention Training And Resources

18.        Opioid Factsheet


19.        Nutritional Meals

20.        New Laws Enhance Student Access to Health Services



Boyer P. August, Ed. D., M.S.


§  Writer, “a handbook on student rights and responsibilities with an emphasis on California law”

§  Winner, 15 Year, California State Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court, Freedom of Speech, Civil Rights Case


§  Doctorate In Educational Administration, University Of Southern California

§  Master In Counseling, California State University, East Bay, Hayward CA


§  Bachelor Of Science, English, University Of San Francisco                             

§  California Educational Life Credentials: Secondary, Elementary And Administrative, California State University, Hayward


§  Licensed, California, Marriage, Family And Child Therapist

§  Director, The Center For The Protection Of Human Rights In Education - A California Community Service Program Since 1978


§  High School Teacher And Administrator

§  Teacher, Suicide Awareness And Prevention Programs


§  Counselor, High School Ethnic Awareness Groups

§  Director, Student Assistance Counseling Programs


§  Trained In Self-Esteem Awareness, Peer Counseling And Conflict Resolution

§  Trained In Suicide Prevention, Crisis Intervention And Chemical Dependency


§  Adjunct Professor, California State University, East Bay, Hayward

§  Supervisor Of Student Teachers, California State University, East Bay, Hayward


§  Master Teacher, University Of California, Berkeley, California

§  Supervisor Of Student Teachers, St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California


§  Juvenile Hall, Intern Chaplain, Martinez, California

§  San Quentin State Prison Kairos Presenter And Assistant-Program Director



Revisions From 2011 – 2018



Handbook Revisions From Our 33rd Printing

July 4, 2018



New Laws Include:Top of Form


1.   Student Residency

2.     Free Public Education For All


3.   2018 – New Protections For California Charter School Students

4.   2018 – Laws On Disruption And Defiance Discipline Indefinitely Extended And Complaint Procedures Expanded


5.   2018 – Pre- Suspension Conferences

6.   The California Free School Guarantee - Specific Items And Activities Which Schools Cannot Charge For


7.   GLBT Student Rights – Gender Option For School Records

8.   2018 - No Guns On School Campuses


9.   Training Of Coaches Required To Identify And Treat Hear Illness

10. 2018 – Interrogating Minors For Criminal Misconduct On Campus Requires Legal Counsel


11. 2018 – Public Record Release Requirements

12. 2018 - New Voting Rights Plus Access To Board Materials For Student School Board Members


13. Electronic Cigarettes Are Prohibited On Campus And At School Events.

14.  Employee Codes Of Conduct For Interactions With Students


15.  2018 - The Right To Kneel

16. 2018 – Prohibiting Strikers From Entering School Grounds Violates The 1st Amendment


17. 2018 - Student Walkouts – Free Speech Rights And Consequences



Handbook Revisions From Our 32nd Printing

July 4, 2017



New Laws Include:Top of Form


1.   2017 Landmark Settlement With Kern High School District - Latino And African American Students Stop Discriminatory Discipline Practices

2.   Causing A Danger Or Threatening To Disrupt The Educational Process


3.   2017 Transgender Students – California Update On Bathroom Use

4.   2016 U.S. Appeals Court Backs Ohio Transgender Student On Restroom Choice


5.   Graduation Requirements For Juvenile Court School Students And Filing A Complaint

6.   2016 Additional Discipline For Cyber Sexual Bullying


7.     2016 Cyber Sexual Bullying Can Now Mean Suspension Or Expulsion

8.   2016 California Department Of Education Requirements For New Cyber Sexual Bullying


9.   Student Suicide Prevention Policies

10. Student Athletes Protected From Sudden Cardiac Arrest


11. Legal Age To Buy Tobacco Is Now 21

12. 2016 Federal Dear Colleague Letter - Guidance On Discipline And Behavioral Support For Students With Disabilities


13. Disciplining Students For Off-Campus Sexual Harassment Proper Under First Amendment

14. 2016 Students Do Not Have A Free Speech Right To Leave School To Participate In Protests



Handbook Revisions For Our 31st Printing

July 4, 2016



New Laws Include:Top of Form


1.   2016 California Law

Cell Phone Searches Only With A Warrant Or With Student Permission


2.   2017 California Law

Cheerleading To Be An Interscholastic Sport By 2017


3.   2016 California Law

Preventing Child Abuse On School Grounds By School Personnel


4.   2016 California Law

Required Counselor Training In Advocating For All Students; Implementing Academic, Career And Personal Growth Programs…


5.   2016 California Law On

Foster Youth, Homeless Children And Complaint Procedures


6.   Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual And Transgender Student Rights


2016 Transgender Students – National Update On Bathroom Use

2016 Transgender Students – Virginia Update On Bathroom Use


2016 Transgender Students – California Update On Bathroom Use

2016 California Law – O. K. To Wear “Nobody Knows I’m A Lesbian” T-Shirt


7.   2015 California Laws On Graduation

No More High School Exit Exam Requirements

High School “Sham” Courses Prohibited


8.   California Laws On Harassment

2016 - Students May Be Disciplined For Cyberbullying

2017 - Racial Mascots Act


9.   2016 California Law On Marriage, Pregnancy And Parenthood

Help For Teen Parents With Young Children


10. 2015 California Law On Physical Health

Qualified Immunity For Physicians Prescribing "EpiPens"


11. 2016 California Law On School Boards

Student School Board Members Given New Rights


12. 2015 9th U. S. Circuit Court Of Appeals Decision On Special Education

Required Due Process Hearings


13. 2016 California Law On Students Records

How To Complain If These Rights Are Violated



Handbook Revisions For Our 30th Printing

July 4, 2015



New Laws Include:Top of Form


1.   2014 Federal Letter

Immigrant Students Have A Constitutional Right To A Free K-12 Public Education


2.   2015 The California Department Of Education (CDC) And Local Educational Agencies Must Provide New Staff Training On Recognizing And Reporting Suspected Child Abuse And Neglect


3.   2014 New “Willful Defiance” Law Limits Student Discipline


4.   2014 Federal Court Test If Schools Effectively Accommodate Both Genders in Athletic Programs


5.   2014 Law Authorizes Referring Bullying Victims And Witnesses To School Support Services


6.   2014 Parents Can Sue Schools For Failure To Ensure That Students Are Not Discriminated Against, Harassed Or Bullied


7.   2014 Office For Civil Rights, Dear Colleague Letter

On How To Respond To Harassment Or Bullying Complaints Involving Students With Disabilities


8.   2014 Law Establishes Preventative Solution to School Bullying


9.   2015 State Department Of Education Reminder

          Parents Can Not Be Forced To Volunteer At School


10. 2014 Law Limits Full-Contact Football Practices And Includes Requirements Before Students With An Head Injury Or A Concussion Can Return To Sport Participation


11. 2015 Law Authorizes School Nurses Or Trained Personnel To Use Epinephrine Auto-Injectors On Students Suffering From Anaphylactic Shock


12.  2015 Laws Address Student On Line Privacy And Technology Issues

13. New Student Advocacy Resources



Handbook Revisions For Our 29th Printing

July 4, 2014



New Laws Include:Top of Form


1.   2013 Cell Phones Cannot Be Searched Without A Warrant Or An Immediate Threat Of Danger

2.   2013 Mandated Child Abuse Reporters Not Immune From Lawsuits For Unwarranted Disclosures


3.   2013 Fees for Graduation Caps and Gowns Are Prohibited

4.   2013 Foster Care Students New Graduation Options And Notice Requirements


5.   2014 United States Supreme Court Upholds California's Ban On Gay Conversion Therapy

6.   2013 California Transgender Student Rights To Programs And Facilities


7.   2013 Cyberbullying: Sometimes, Schools Can Discipline For Off Campus, Electronic Bullying

8.   2013 Homeless Students: Immediate Enrollment In School And Eligibility For All Extracurricular Activities


9.   2013 California Supreme Court, Non-Licensed School Personnel May Administer Medication To Students

10. 2014 District Wins Appeal On American Flag T-Shirt, Cinco de Mayo Issue, Live Oak High School, Morgan Hill CA


11. New Student Advocacy Resources: Legal, Special Education And Other Educational Resources



Handbook Revisions For Our 28th Printing

July 4, 2013



New Laws Include:Top of Form


1.   Readmission Required After Juvenile Justice System

2.   Child Abuse Reporting Requirements 1/1/13 


3.   Suspensions And Expulsions Alternatives - “other means of correction”

4.   New Grounds For Suspensions And Expulsions 1/13          


5.   Gay-Straight Alliance Rights At School Affirmed, Florida

6.   Transgender Student Rights To All Programs And All Facilities


7.   Due Process Rights For Expulsions

8.     Parent Right To Subpoena Witnesses For Expulsions


9.   AB 1575 School Fees - January 2013

10. How To File A Complaint On Illegal School Fees


11. Parent Bill Of Rights

12. Required Concussion Training for High School Coaches                     


13. Current Special Education Information

14. New On Line Student Advocacy Resources



Handbook Revisions For Our 27th Printing

July 4, 2012



New Laws Include:Top of Form


1.   2011 ACLU Report: H-E-L-L-O: Students Have A Right To Privacy In Their Cell Phones

2.   ACLU Challenges Coercive Police Interrogation Of Students at Davis High School, CA


3.   Fees For School Supplies, Summer School Tuition, Parking Spaces And For Advanced Placement Examinations Are Illegal

4.   2011 Federal Civil Rights, Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settlement Against Counselor, Berkeley Unified, CA


5.   2012 California State Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Ruling For Molested Student

6.   2012 “Seth Law” Amendments To Safe Place To Learn Act Addresses Student Harassment


7.   Electronic Act Defined For Purposes Of Bullying Prohibitions

8.   2012 New Requirements For Student Athletes Related To Concussions And Head Injuries


9.   Superior Court Settlement In High School, Football, Brain Injury Case 

10. 2012 Unlicensed School Employees To Administer Emergency Epilepsy Medication


11. 2011 - 9th U. S. Circuit Court Of Appeals, San Francisco, CA, Teacher Free To Criticize Religion, Capistrano, CA

12. 2011 - 9th U. S. Cir. Ct. Of Appeals, San Francisco, CA, Teacher Does Not Have Right To Display Religious Banners, Poway, CA


13. 2011 Principal Wins Appeal On American Flag T-Shirt, Cinco de Mayo Issue, Morgan Hill CA

14. 2012 U. S. Supreme Court, Online Insults Of Teachers Or Administrator Might Not Always Result In Student Discipline


15. 2012 ACLU/The Asian Caucus, On Line Insults Of Teachers Or Administrators Might Not Always Result In Student Discipline

16. New On Line Resources: Calif. Watch, Ed Law Connect, EdSource, Electronic Frontier Foundation, First Amendment Coalition



Handbook Revisions For Our 26th Printing

July 4, 2011



New Laws Include:Top of Form


1.   Urgent Need To Teach Students About Their Rights

2.   Child Abuse Reporting Law: Reasonable Suspicion Of Abuse Does Not Require Certainty


3.   2011 Legal Guidelines Recognizing Gay- Straight Alliances

4.   2011 Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act

5.   Adults Who Provide Alcohol To Students Can Be Sued 

6.   Drug Testing Of Students In Extra-Curricular Activities Ruled Unconstitutional


7.   2008 Due Process Violated At Deer Valley High School, Antioch, CA

8.   2010 Clovis Unified, CA Pays $250,000 In Student Fees Suit


9.   2010 Unlawful For School Districts To Charge Students Fees For Educational Activities

10. 2011 Federal Racial Harassment Award: $725,000 To Students/Parents From New Haven Unified District, CA

11. 2011 Sexual Harassment Guidance Letter To Schools

12. 2010 Search Of Student Who Left Campus, Without Permission, And Then Returned Was Lawful

13. 2010 Parents Can Obtain Money Damages For Failure To Provide Special Education

14. Student Evaluation Of Teachers 
15. Schools Required to Provide Free, Fresh Drinking Water 
16. 2011 Public Prayer Will Be Allowed At A Texas High School Graduation 


17. 2011 On Line Insult of Teacher Not Cyber-Bullying

18. 2011 Administrators May Be Sued For Not Allowing Students To Wear American Flag T-Shirts


From The Cuckoo’s Nest

A Student Rights Blog For K-12 Students

By Boyer P.





Some Blog Titles


Did You Know It Is Illegal When:

LLLLLLLLLanguage Rape

Did You Know It Is Illegal When?

Free Articles “From The Cuckoo’s Nest”Free Articles From The Cuckoo’s Nest


“Saturday School Sucks!”

Bathroom Denial Is Illegal                   

Why Some Homework Does Not Work


Cell Phone Searches

Are Your Children Safe At School?

How To Prepare For A Meeting With Educators


Recess And Lunch Detention Are Illegal

Laps And Pushups As A Punishment Are Illegal              

Students Have A Right To See Their School Records


Mental And Physical Pain At School Is Child Abuse And It Is Illegal

Fees For Classes, Locks, Lockers, Instruments And Uniforms Are Illegal   




An Educational Newsletter About The Legal Rights Of K-12 Students Since 1988



Some Titles From CUCKOO’S NEST


Saturday School Sucks!                                    

Saturday School Sucks II!

Language Rape: Verbal Abuse In The Classroom Is Illegal


Hey, I’m A Teenager - Pay Attention Dude!

Have You Ever Been Kicked Out Of Anything?  

Teenage Suicide – Please Don’t Bring That Up Again!


Parking Fees Are Illegal          

Other Legal And Illegal Fees

A Form To Evaluate Teachers


24 Legal Solutions For Tardies Minus The Sweep

The Sweep, Locking Students Out Of Classrooms Is Illegal

The Process On Supporting Positive Programs And Educators


Prayer At Games And Graduation                     

Teenagers Should Not Be Allowed To Drive!

Preparing For The Teacher Or Principal Conference


The Code Of Ethics Of The Teaching Profession

Lunch Detention And Required Lunch Testing Is Illegal

The Center’s Philosophy On The Education Of Students                                                                           


Suspension Laws

Cell Phones Are Legal

Religious Clubs Are Legal       


Lowering Grades For Unexcused Absences Is Illegal      

Lowering Grades Because Of Bathroom Passes Is Illegal

Student School Board Representatives Are Required By Law


The Required Senior Contract                                                               

Electronic Devises: Legal And Illegal

Disruptive Activities And Suspension


Graduation And The Right To Walk

Prayers At Assemblies, Games And Graduations

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