Know Your Child’s Right to Free Speech and California K-12 Truancy Laws

October 21, 21

Our children are being retaliated against for exercising their constitutional rights. How do we strike a balance between their First Amendment rights, and educational obligations?

We have received reports of children being bullied by teachers because they participated in Monday’s anti-mandate sit-out.  Some teachers required the students to stand in front of their class and explain where they were, while criticizing them for their choices, guilting them for abandoning their peers and studies, and threatening them from making any further attempts at exercising their constitutional rights to speak freely and petition their governments to redress their grievances.  This is not only illegal, but highly cruel and intolerable in a democratic society.

California Education Code, § 201 states that K-12 students have the right to participate fully in the educational process free from discrimination and harassment.  The Code further delinates schools legal obligation to minimize and eliminate hostile environments that impair access to equal education opportunities.  School administrators and staff are tasked with the responsibility for ensuring that students thrive in a loving environment, free from bullying, harassment, and discrimination, among other things.  Furthermore, our children do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”  These First Amendment rights for public school children have been consistently upheld by the Supreme Court since 1943.

While our children retain their constitutional rights while at school, they must also comply with local law regarding attendance and performance.  The Constitution does not grant us unlimited powers to exercise in disregard of other obligations, rights, and privileged granted thereunder, or under other laws, policies, or procedures we willingly assume.  Please download, print, read, and share the following document providing a list of K-12 students’ rights and duties so that you can analyze together and strategize how best to balance both:

We are proud of you for being here.  #THETIMEISNOW to #RISEUP and #BETHERESISTANCE.  If we don’t stand now, our children will have nothing to stand on in the future.