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Student Rights

Student_KYR_Brochure_webThe Constitution does not care how old you are. The Supreme Court famously found that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."

Bullying: Know Your Rights

If you are being bullied, your school has a responsibility to respond. Know your rights! 



ACLU Nebraska Tells Crete High: Assure Community You Are Providing a Safe Environment for Students

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ACLU Nebraska Tells Crete High: Assure Community You Are Providing a Safe Environment for Students

October 12, 2012

CONTACT:  Amy Miller, (402) 476-8091, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

LINCOLN - Following news reports that Crete High School permitted an accused sex offender to chaperone a field trip—a trip that included his alleged victim—ACLU Nebraska calls for remedial steps.

According to news reports, a 52 year old man awaits trial for first degree sexual assault of a Crete High School student.  Despite this fact, he was permitted to volunteer at Crete High School, where his alleged victim saw him.  She immediately reported the problem to Principal Tim Conway.  She asserts the Principal told her she would just have to deal with it.

“ACLU Nebraska is extremely concerned that a school administrator would be so insensitive to the concerns of a young woman reporting a crime,” said ACLU Nebraska Legal Director Amy Miller.  “Crete failed to help this young woman. When she reported to the Principal, the law says the school should have immediately taken her report seriously and helped her.”

Miller added, “Statistically, the majority of sexual assault victims are too intimidated to report what happened to them.  What message is this school district sending to every student when they refuse to help a young girl facing her accused attacker in the very hallways of the school?  This is amplified in light of the girl’s age and the school setting.”

ACLU has written to the school superintendent, the Crete school board and the Nebraska Department of Education asking for immediate remedial steps.  Miller said, “The school needs to ensure this will never happen again.  Whether it’s training for staff, education for the students, or new policies to require taking all reports of assault seriously, Crete needs to step up to the plate.  Right now.”

A copy of the letter is available online at www.aclunebraska.org

Attachments:
Download this file (Crete Public Schools letter.pdf)Crete Public Schools letter.pdf[ ]462 Kb
 

ACLU Disappointed in Ruling that Restricts Student Speech

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Cautions School Administrators: This is Not a Green Light for Censorship

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2012

CONTACT:        Brian Jorde, Domina Law Group, Attorney for Plaintiffs, (402) 493-4100
Amy Miller, ACLU Legal Director, (402) 210-9098

OMAHA – In Omaha on Friday, a jury ruled that Millard Public Schools was acting in accordance with the law when suspending twenty-six students for wearing commemorative t-shirts and bracelets after a friend was killed in 2008.  The jury ruled in favor of the Millard School District in two of the three cases brought to them—they were unable to reach a verdict and deadlocked after more than 8 hours of debate on one of the students, Cassie Kuhr.

Julius Robinson, close friend of the Kuhrs, was killed in summer of 2008. The Kuhrs made many commemorative items, including t-shirts and wristbands, to honor Robinson and help his family raise money to cover funeral expenses. School officials objected to the t-shirts and wristbands citing alleged links between Robinson and gangs therefor arguing anything related to Robinson was also gang-affiliated. Twenty-six students were suspended for their efforts to express their freedom of speech.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Brian Jorde of the Domina Law Group released the following statement:

“Free speech cases arising out of banned expressions at school most often favor the school and its administrators.

“It is hard to fathom a bracelet with Mr. Robinson’s name on it would cause a disruption in school. The evidence presented showed it had not for the 73 days before the ban or the 1200 days since.

“I am confident the school will think twice next time prior to a knee jerk ban that remained perpetual.

“Part of the educational process is debate and the free flow of ideas - the school engaged in neither.”

ACLU Nebraska Legal Director Amy Miller said, “ACLU will continue to defend the free speech rights of students by educating school administrators, sharing copies of our student’s rights handbooks with kids across the state, and advocating for policies that protect expression in the classroom.”

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ABOUT: ACLU Nebraska and its diverse membership works in courts, the legislature and our communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States and Nebraska guarantee everyone in this state.

 

Suspended for Supporting a Friend

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Make sure schools know that when they use racial bias to stifle free speech - the ACLU will be there!

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April 10 - 12, 2012

Roman L. Hruska Federal Courthouse
111 South 18th Plaza, Omaha.

There is metered street parking on every side of the building.

Spend a moment at the trial of ACLU client Dan Kuhr who stood up for justice after his friend Julius Robinson was killed. The school responded to Dan's act of compassion by suspending him, saying commemortive t-shirts and bracelets would incite gang violence. (Read more...)

Please review these rules and be prepared to follow them before attending the hearing.

  • You need current photo ID to enter the federal courthouse.
  • There is a metal detector you'll need to walk through, and so you and your bag will be scanned with the X ray. No weapons of any sort are permitted. Think of the rules for getting on a plane—if you couldn't take it on a plane, it can't go into a federal building.
  • NO cameras are permitted, including those on your cell phone. Even a phone that is turned off won't be allowed into the building if it has camera capabilities. Bottom line: leave any phone-with-a-camera in your car.
  • Phones with NO camera abilities are permitted into the building, but they must be off while in the courtroom itself.

The trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 10th at 9:00 a.m. The trial will be held in Courtroom #2 in front of Judge Laurie Smith Camp. We expect to be in court on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It is possible it will carry on to Friday.

You can attend any portion of the trial, which means you may arrive and depart at any point, but just do so quietly and respectfully for the proceedings.

 

Students Get Their Day in Court

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 9, 2011

CONTACT:        Amy Miller, (402) 476-8091, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Brian Jorde, (402) 493-4100

Judge Says Students Can Have Their Day in Court

Ruling Allows Students to Defend Commemoration of a Deceased Friend

LINCOLN - On Tuesday, Federal Judge Laurie Smith-Camp moved forward a case in which the ACLU says Millard Public School District violated the free speech rights of students Dan, Cassie and Nick Kuhr.

"The best education helps students deal with life's difficult moments," said ACLU Nebraska Legal Director Amy Miller. "Millard Public Schools lost that opportunity when students’ right to commemorate a deceased friend was taken away."

Julius Robinson, close friend of the Kuhrs, was killed in summer of 2008. The Kuhrs made many commemorative items, including t-shirts and wristbands, to honor Robinson and help his family raise money to cover funeral expenses. School officials objected to the t-shirts and wristbands citing alleged links between Robinson and gangs therefor arguing anything related to Robinson was also gang-affiliated. Twenty-six students were suspended for their efforts to express their freedom of speech.

"Judge Smith-Camp recognized students do not 'shed their constitutional rights...at the schoolhouse gate,’" said cooperating lawyer Brian Jorde of the Omaha firm Domina Law Group. "The Kuhr children will defend their rights in court and we are hopeful the jury will find banning the T-shirts and memorial related items violated the Kuhr children’s First Amendment rights."

"When a school oversteps their authority to say what is acceptable expression using unclear and arbitrary guidelines, then a school is taking a student's time and energy away from the classroom," said Miller. "The court found there was no disturbance to the learning environment until the school started censoring the memorial shirts."

No date has been set for the trial. Read a copy of the ruling or other cases related to students rights at www.aclunebraska.org.

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ABOUT: ACLU Nebraska and its diverse membership works in courts, the legislature and our communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States and Nebraska guarantee everyone in this state.

Attachments:
Download this file (Kuhr order denying SJ.pdf)Kuhr order denying SJ.pdf[ ]1045 Kb
 

Back to School. Back to Rights.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 24, 2011

CONTACT:  Amy Miller, (402) 476-8091, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Students Head Back To School with Their Rights

ACLU asks for information on policies in local high schools, provides educational resources

LINCOLN – As students head back to school, ACLU Nebraska has released new materials to help students understand their rights.

“Students and parents contact our office throughout the year wanting to know what their rights are,” said ACLU Nebraska Legal Director Amy Miller. “We provide information on student’s rights to the public so that everyone – students, parents and school personnel – know their rights.”

Two publications on ACLU Nebraska’s website are available for download. One contains some of the most common questions from students and parents. A second publication deals specifically with the rights of students who have been bullied.
http://www.aclunebraska.org/index.php/student-rights

Additionally, ACLU is trying to gather more information about potential violations at Nebraska high schools. A short survey has been released at www.aclunebraska.org.

“Most school districts in Nebraska understand the need to protect student’s rights,” said Miller. “Our goal is to learn where to focus the trainings and presentations we provide to school personnel and students. I’d rather solve a problem by providing education in advance than having a student contact our office after their rights were violated.”

ACLU has recently responded to student complains about censorship, religious liberty and bullying.

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ABOUT: ACLU Nebraska and its diverse membership works in courts, the legislature and our communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States and Nebraska guarantee everyone in this state.

 

 

 
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ACLU Member Card

The need has never been greater for freedom-loving people to support the ACLU. By making a gift today, you can make sure that ACLU Nebraska has the resources it needs to continue to fight for all of our freedoms. Donate now!