Monday, February 15, 2010

Students - Know Your Rights!

This is for all American public school students who are Queer or allied. This is a small write up about your rights provided by the ACLU - Get Busy, Get Equal!

"If you experience any problems at school, first talk to your principal or another official. If nothing happens it's time to take action.

HARASSMENT:
If you are being harassed, or witness harassment, report it to the principal, a counselor, or another official immediately, and keep notes with dates and descriptions of all incidents and when you reported them. Being silent may seem easier but it will not end the abuse, and you have the right to be yourself and safe.

PRIVACY:
Teachers and school officials do NOT have the right to "out" you to anyone without your permission or use your sexual orientation to manipulate you in any way.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH:
Sometimes schools try to silence students who are open about their sexual orientation. If you go to a public school you have a constitutional right to be out of the closet and express your opinions.

GAY-STRAIGHT ALLIANCES:
Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA's) are non-curricular student clubs, just like Chess clubs or Key Clubs, that allow students with a common interest to get together and have discussions and activities. The law says public schools must allow GSA's if other student clubs exist.

*For info on starting or being part of a GSA go to GLSEN or call 212-727-0135

PROM:
Public schools cannot stop you from bringing a same-sex date to prom. Federal law protects this as freedom of expression, and you cannot be barred from prom because of your date's gender."

If you are encountering difficulty, the ACLU can provide free assistance... Do not hesitate to contact them with questions about your rights or to ask for legal assistance.

getequal@aclu.org
Phone: 212-549-2627

2 comments:

adrian1698 said...

And I would just like to add, ACTUALLY keep your OWN records with notes and dates and when you reported the incidents, who you spoke to, at what time, etc.

Speaking from personal experience, my school conveniently lost all records of any homophobic related harassment when I finally came to them for serious help my senior year. I think they were afraid to face legal consequences for not doing enough in the first place.

Queers United said...

Thanks for sharing that tip Adrian. I def think making photocopies is a good idea. The school def wants to side step issues like this usually and let them blow away in the wind.

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