YOUR RIGHTS AS A STUDENT

August 30th, 2017 | Jennifer Nimer

1.  You have the right to inform others about your religion. You have the right to pass out literature or speak to others about Islam, as long as it is not done in a disruptive manner. 
2.  You have the right to wear religious clothing. You also have the right to wear clothing with a religious message, as long as other clothes with messages are allowed. 
3.  You have the right to organize student-led prayer on campus, as long as the service is not disruptive.
4.  You may have the right to attend Friday prayer. The Supreme Court has upheld the right of states to allow students “release time” to attend religious classes or services.
5.  You have the right to be excused from school for religious holidays. You should inform the school that you will be absent.
6.  You have the right to be excused from class discussions or activities that you find religiously objectionable. 
7.  You have the right to form an extracurricular Muslim student group.

Does a student have the right to express his/her opinions and beliefs in school?

Yes. A student can express his/her opinions orally and in writing. A student must, however, make sure that in expressing this opinion or belief that he/she does so in a way that does not disrupt classes or other school activities. In addition, the student should not use vulgar language.

Can a school have a dress code?

This depends on the state. Many states allow dress codes unless they are unreasonable or discriminatory.  For example, a school cannot prohibit religious messages on clothing.

Does a student have to say the Pledge of Allegiance?

No. A student has the right to remain silent and seated during the pledge.

Can the school start the day or an activity with a prayer?

No. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government from promoting religion. Prayers in school or at a school activity violate this clause.

Can the principal or a teacher search a student’s locker or handbag?

Yes. Students have fewer privacy rights in school than out of school.

Can a school have metal detectors?

Metal detectors are allowed in many states. Courts have ruled that a metal detector is less of an invasion of privacy than other kinds of searches. Metal detectors cannot be used selectively, i.e., on a certain group of students and not others.

Can a student who doesn’t speak English attend a public school?

Yes. Teaching is the function of any public school. The school can teach the student English and provide him/her with a good education in other subjects while learning English.

Can a public school teach religion?

No. A public school as part of the curriculum cannot promote religious beliefs or practices. A public school can, however, teach about the influences of religion in history or literature.

 

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