Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
As a student, you may never consider what rights you have until you feel violated. That’s why it’s important to learn your rights as a Pennsylvania student so you can speak out when a school does wrong.
Students in Pennsylvania have more rights than they may realize. For example, students have the right to a safe school environment. They have the right to know about and attend school board meetings. Students have a right to privacy, meaning schools cannot share education records without consent. Disabled students in Pennsylvania have the right to accessible, quality education. And all students, regardless of sex, gender, race, or religion, have the right to a discrimination-free education. If, after learning more about your rights, you believe they have been violated, reach out to a skilled lawyer so that you can hold your school responsible.
Our dedicated attorneys are here to advocate for students’ rights throughout Pennsylvania. For a free case evaluation with the Pennsylvania academic misconduct attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, call today at (814) 826-3586.
Pennsylvania Laws that Protect Students’ Rights
Many state and federal laws grant Pennsylvania students their rights. The Pennsylvania Public School Act, the Sunshine Act, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act regulate schools and their responsibilities to students. Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act prohibit discrimination. Understanding your rights as a Pennsylvania student is crucial so that you can recognize when a school violates them.
Pennsylvania Public School Act
The Pennsylvania Public School Act of 1949 spells out educational institutions’ responsibility to maintain a safe environment for all students. The law, which has been expanded to include both public schools and certain private schools from kindergarten to high school, dictates that schools must have proper medical staff to treat students. Schools need to have CPR-trained nurses as well as storage facilities for students’ medication.
The Pennsylvania Public School Act mentions students’ rights to religious exemptions and freedom from sex-based discrimination. This set of Pennsylvania rules and regulations for public schools is relatively dense. If you need help understanding the Pennsylvania Public School Act or are unsure whether its rules apply to your private school, contact a Pennsylvania academic misconduct attorney for clarification.
Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act sheds light on official meetings and gatherings of local or state government bodies. This includes public school systems’ board meetings. Under the Sunshine Act, students have the right to attend school board meetings and voice their concerns or advocacy for certain policies or changes within a Pennsylvania school district.
The Sunshine Act requires that public school boards, being government agencies comprised of elected officials, inform the public of their intentions to meet beforehand. If a school board doesn’t inform its student body or the public of a meeting and votes on a policy before hearing from concerned parents or students, it has violated your rights.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that extends to students in Pennsylvania. FERPA prohibits schools from sharing students’ education records with certain persons without a parent’s consent. The ability to decide who can view one’s education records transfers to the student upon reaching majority age.
Schools that receive federal funding can share education records with certain parties, like school officials. However, unless a party is specifically excluded from FERPA restrictions, schools cannot share information without a parent’s written consent. This protects students from having their personal and academic information disclosed. Violation of FERPA is a violation of your rights. Contact a Pennsylvania academic misconduct attorney immediately if your school shared your education records without a parent’s consent.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires all states, including Pennsylvania, to provide free, accessible public education to disabled children. In accordance with IDEA, the federal government gives states grants to promote early intervention and provide disabled children with the education they deserve.
Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Special Education exists to cultivate successful special education programs in public schools throughout the state. Remember, IDEA requires public schools to meet the needs of all their students, including disabled students. If you or your child are not receiving an adequate education because a Pennsylvania school is not abiding by IDEA, speak to a Pennsylvania academic misconduct attorney immediately.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Title IX of the Education Amendments is one of the most famous statutes regarding students’ rights throughout the country. Title IX is part of a set of federal laws that apply to students in all schools across the United States that receive federal funding. Essentially, Title IX says that students have the right to equal opportunity in school regardless of their sex. Any discrimination based on sex is not allowed.
It’s important to note that Title IX only applies to schools that receive federal funding. So, if you attend a private school and experience sex-based discrimination, it is likely that that institution still receives federal funding and would still be covered by Title IX. Reach out to an attorney to see if you can sue for a Title IX violation.
Title IV of the Civil Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act, specifically Title IV as amended in 1972, outlines students’ rights to a discrimination-free education. Any discrimination at school based on race, religion, sex, or nationality is strictly prohibited and can be enforced by the Attorney General under Title IV. This applies to all public schools, from elementary to college.
Consult an attorney if you’ve been discriminated against at school, whether for your gender presentation, race, or otherwise. Title IV doesn’t just protect Pennsylvania students from discrimination; it provides a pathway to justice once discrimination occurs.
Call Our Pennsylvania Attorneys to Learn More About Students’ Rights
If you’ve experienced discrimination at the hands of your Pennsylvania school, each out to our lawyers. For a free case evaluation with the Civil and Constitutional Rights Violations attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, call today at (814) 826-3586.