Under the authority of a 2007 Mayor’s Order, Washington D.C. adopted the Student Bill of Rights rule, codified in the D.C. Municipal Regulations. The rule became effective on August 14, 2009, and replaces a similar rule from 1900. The 2009 rule not only protects students’ First Amendment rights of free speech, assembly, and expression, but also protects students from retaliation in their academic achievements, grades, and participation in extracurricular activities because of their free expression of opinion. The rule also grants students the right to review and inspect official records of the school system directly related to the student.
2401 STUDENT BILL OF RIGHTS
2401.1 Each student has the right to a meaningful public education, the maintenance of high educational standards, and a system of public education that adequately and equitably seeks to meet the need of the individual student.
2401.2 Each student has the right to access to a meaningful curriculum and the right to voice his or her opinions and provide input into the development of the public school curriculum.
2401.3 Each student has the right to express his or her views in matters that affect the quality and content of the education that is provided, including but not limited to, the right to participate individually or through elected representatives in the development of the rules and regulations to which the student is subject.
2401.4 Each student has the right to adequate and timely notice of all rules, regulations, policies and sanctions to which the student is subject. All rules and regulations shall be available in writing and be accessible to all students. A copy of the rules of the Board of Education shall be maintained in the library, guidance office, or other appropriate place in each public school in the District of Columbia. A copy of § 2401 (Student Bill of Rights) shall be provided to each student upon registration at a public school in the District of Columbia.
2401.5 Each student has the right to physical safety and the protection of personal property, including the right to safe and sanitary school buildings and facilities.
2401.6 Each student has the right to adequate consultation with teachers, counselors, administrators, and other school personnel.
2401.7 Each student has the right to free election of peers in student organizations, as well as the right to seek and hold office.
2401.8 Each student and the student’s parents or authorized representatives have the right to inspect and review the official records of the school system that relate directly to the individual student, as provided in § 2601. A student or the student’s parent or guardian shall be notified if adverse comments are placed in his or her official records.
2401.9 Students have the right to participate in school activities without being subject to unlawful discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, political affiliation, handicapping condition, or any other basis of unlawful discrimination under the laws of the District of Columbia.
2401.10 Where access to participation in programs or activities is on a competitive basis, each student has the right to an opportunity to compete on an equal basis.
2401.11 A student has the right to refuse to participate in school activities which are contrary to the student’s moral, religious, or political beliefs.
2401.12 Each student shall have the right to respect from teachers, other students, administrators, and other school personnel, and shall not be subject to ridicule, harassment, or any punishment that is demeaning or derogatory. No student shall be subject to corporal punishment.
2401.13 Principals, assistant principals, school security personnel and other designated individuals may conduct, or cause to be conducted, such searches of students as are reasonable to maintain the security, discipline and educational atmosphere of a school building, event or program, in accordance with the provisions § 2404.
2401.14 Each student shall have the right to use reasonable physical means to defend himself or herself from assault or physical abuse, and shall not be subject to suspension for using limited, reasonable, physical means to restrain another person from physically assaulting or harming a third person.
2401.15 Each student has the right to present petitions, complaints, or grievances to school authorities and the right to receive prompt, authoritative replies from school officials regarding the disposition of the student’s petitions, complaints, or grievances. The procedure for presenting complaints and grievances is set forth in § 2405.4 of this Chapter. The alternative procedure for presenting complaints alleging incidents of harassment and sexual harassment is set forth in § 2405.5 of this Chapter.
2401.16 Where a student is entitled to a hearing pursuant to this title, the hearing shall be impartial, and the student shall be a forded all other rights set forth in the hearing procedures.
2401.17 Each student shall have the right to exercise his or her constitutional rights of free speech, assembly, and expression without prior restraint, so long as the exercise of these rights does not substantially interfere with the rights of others.
2401.18 The exercise of the constitutional rights of free speech, assembly, and expression by students shall include, but is not necessarily limited to, the following:
(a) Wearing political buttons, armbands, or other badges of symbolic expression;
(b) Organizing and participating in political and social organizations;
(c) Use of student bulletin boards without prior censorship, but not school bulletin boards without approval of the use which shall be reasonably provided by the schools;
(e) Preparation and distribution of posters, newspapers, or other printed matter, on or off school grounds, and the reasonable use of the school public address system subject to standards adopted by the student government organization in cooperation with school officials; provided, that such distribution or use shall be limited to reasonable times before, during, and after school hours in order to prevent undue interference with classroom activities and the rights of others; and
(f) Free expression and defense of views and opinions without having that expression affect the student’s examinations, grades, academic achievement, or participation in extra-curricular activities.
SOURCE: Final Rulemaking published at 24 DCR 1005, 1037 (July 29, 1977); as amended by Final Rulemaking published at 27 DCR 2575 (June 13, 1980); and by Final Rulemaking published at 35 DCR 9057 (December 30, 1988); by Final Rulemaking published at 49 DCR 7513, 7516(August 2, 2002); as amended by Final Rulemaking published at 56 DCR 6370 (August 14, 2009).