Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Civil Rights of Students: Federal Laws

Protection for students of their civil rights, particularly in high schools, is crucial. It helps ensure they have a safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environment. State laws and federal laws are designed to safeguard students' rights. This protection can be for the school system's privacy of student education records. Or it could mean equal treatment, regardless of national origin. It could also mean accessing appropriate educational services for special education students.

Many federal laws protect students' civil rights in a wide range of areas. For example, the Constitution requires that children get an equal opportunity to education. Several other federal laws prevent discrimination in education. This includes the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Below, you'll find information on the most important laws protecting student rights.

The United States Constitution

The U.S. Constitution provides broad protections for all citizens, including students. It offers a guarantee of equal protection and due process. It prohibits school officials and local education agencies from discriminating against students. Discrimination based on race, color, or national origin is not allowed. The Supreme Court has often upheld these rights. This underscores their fundamental importance in our school system.

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972

The U.S. Department of Education enforces Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It prohibits sex discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funds. This extends to high school and postsecondary institutions.

This law protects enrollment and financial aid processes. It requires school districts and the board of education to take proactive measures. They must ensure equal opportunities for students of all sexes in educational programs.

Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects against disability discrimination. It protects against this discrimination by all public entities. This includes public education and further includes secondary schools and higher education institutions. This means students with disabilities must receive related services and accommodations.

These changes should allow them equal participation in school activities. Schools may use federal or state funds to provide these services. They receive funds pursuant to specific eligibility requirements.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act further protects students with disabilities. This law ensures students are not excluded. They can not be kept from participating in federally funded programs or activities. It works in conjunction with the ADA and IDEA. These laws help ensure these students receive special education and related services.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a key piece of education law. It guarantees free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible students with disabilities. School districts and other local education agencies must provide special education services.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) updates IDEA. It helps ensure special education services for children with disabilities. The Act requires the creation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Students with disabilities receive IEPs. A team made up of the child's parents and school officials develops this IEP.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law. It protects the privacy of student education records. It grants parents and eligible students the right to access their records. They also have the right to correct and control the disclosure of their records. School officials must follow FERPA. The U.S. Department of Education enforces FERPA. Violations of FERPA can lead to the loss of federal funding.

Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974

The Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) prohibits discrimination. It requires public schools to take action to overcome equal protection barriers. This includes measures against segregation. It also prevents discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin. It requires schools to respond to the needs of students with limited skills in English. They must make it easier for them to take part in all aspects of school life.

Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994

The Gun-Free Schools Act (GFSA) is another important Act. Under this law, each state receiving federal funds must have a law that requires local education agencies to expel any student who brings a gun to school. The student must face expulsion for at least one year. This law aims to ensure student safety and promote a secure learning environment. Law enforcement and school administrators play a significant role in enforcing this Act.

Getting Legal Help With Student Protection Violations

Consider getting legal help if you have an issue with student civil rights protection violations. You can get help from local governments or the attorney general's office. You can also seek help from law enforcement agencies. Mental health professionals and other service providers can help support students. They can help in both public and private schools.

These laws, together, form a comprehensive framework designed to protect students. It helps ensure their rights are upheld in their education.

Get help from an education attorney today.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps

Contact a qualified education attorney to help you navigate education rights and laws.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Help Me Find a Do-It-Yourself Solution

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options