Student Bill of Rights

Student Bill of Rights Preamble
A sense of mutual respect among students, parents, and staff for the good of all concerned is a goal of the New York City public schools. Another goal is the involvement of students in activities and programs, within and outside the school community, which stress a commitment to civic responsibility and community service. The cooperation of all members of the school community will ensure that a rich learning experience and educational excellence can be achieved for every student. This document will serve as a guide for students as they strive to become productive citizens in a diverse society.


While public schools serve many age groups whose rights may differ according to their levels of maturity, the right to a free public school education is a basic student right guaranteed to all children.

Students have a right to:

1. attend school and receive a free public school education from kindergarten to age 21 or receipt of a high school diploma, whichever comes first, as provided by law; students who have been determined to be English Language Learners are entitled to bilingual education or English as a second language program as provided by law; students with disabilities who have been determined to be in need of special education are entitled to a free appropriate public education from age 3 until age 21, as provided by law;

2. be in a safe and supportive learning environment, free from discrimination, harassment, and bigotry;

3. receive courtesy and respect from others regardless of age, race, creed, color, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and political beliefs;

4. receive a written copy of the schools policies and procedures, including the discipline code and the New York City Department of Education Bill of Student Rights and Responsibilities, early in the school year or upon admission to the school during the school year;

5. be informed about diploma requirements, including courses and examinations, and information on assistance to meet those requirements;

6. be informed about required health, cognitive, and language screening examinations;

7. be informed about courses and programs that are available in the school and the opportunity to have input in the selection of elective courses;

8. receive professional instruction;

9. know the grading criteria for each subject area and/or course offered by the school and to receive grades for school work completed based on established criteria;

10. be informed of educational progress and receive periodic evaluations, both informally and through formal progress reports;

11. be notified in a timely manner of the possibility of being held over in the grade or of failing a course;

12. be notified of the right of appeal regarding holdover or failing grades;

13. access to review their education records upon request, if in high school (the right to review records is always accorded the parent/adult in parental relationship and eligible student);

14. confidentiality in the handling of student records maintained by the school system;

15. receive guidance, counseling, and advice for personal, social, educational, career, and vocational development.


All students are guaranteed the right to express opinions, support causes, organize, and assemble to discuss issues and demonstrate peacefully and responsibly in support of them, in accordance with policies and procedures established by the New York City Department of Education.

Students have the right to:

1. organize, promote, and participate in a representative form of student government;

2. organize, promote, and participate in student organizations, social and educational clubs or teams, and political, religious, and philosophical groups consistent with the requirements of the Equal Access Act;

3. representation on appropriate schoolwide committees that have impact on the educational process, with voting rights where applicable;

4. publish school newspapers and school newsletters reflecting the life of the school and expressing student concerns and points of view consistent with responsible journalistic methods and subject to reasonable regulations based on legitimate pedagogical concerns;

5. circulate newspapers, literature, or political leaflets on school property, subject to reasonable guidelines established by the school regarding time, place, and manner of distribution, except where such material is libelous, obscene, commercial, or materially disrupts the school, causes substantial disorder, or invades the rights of others;

6. wear political or other types of buttons, badges, or armbands, except where such material is libelous, obscene, or materially disrupts the school, causes substantial disorder, or invades the rights of others;

7. post bulletin board notices within the school, subject to reasonable guidelines established by the school, except where such notices are libelous, obscene, commercial, or materially disrupt the school, cause substantial disorder, or invade the rights of others;

8. determine their own dress within the parameters of the Department of Education policy on school uniforms, except where such dress is dangerous or interferes with the learning and teaching process;

9. be secure in their persons, papers, and effects, and to carry in the school building personal possessions which are appropriate for use on the premises;

10. be free from unreasonable or indiscriminate searches, including body searches;

11. be free from corporal punishment;

12. decline to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance or stand for the pledge.


Every student has the right to be treated fairly in accordance with the rights set forth in this document.

Students have the right to:

1. be provided with the discipline code and rules and regulations of the school;

2. know what is appropriate behavior and what behaviors may result in disciplinary actions;

3. be counseled by members of the professional staff in matters related to their behavior as it affects their education and welfare within the school;

4. know possible dispositions and outcomes for specific offenses;

5. receive written notice of the reasons for disciplinary action taken against them in a timely fashion;

6. due process of law in instances of disciplinary action for alleged violations of school regulations for which they may be suspended or removed from class by their teachers;

7. know the procedures for appealing the actions and decisions of school officials with respect to their rights and responsibilities as set forth in this document;

8. be accompanied by a parent/adult in parental relationship and/or representative at conferences and hearings;

9. the presence of school staff in situations where there may be police involvement;

10. challenge and explain in writing any material entered in their student records.


Responsible behavior by each student is the only way in which the rights set forth in this document can be preserved. Violation of some of these responsibilities may lead, in accordance with the Discipline Code, to disciplinary measures. Full acceptance of responsibility with the exercise of rights will provide students with greater opportunity to serve themselves and society.

Students have a responsibility to:

1. attend school regularly and punctually and make every effort to achieve in all areas of their education;

2. be prepared for class with appropriate materials and properly maintain textbooks and other school equipment;

3. follow school regulations regarding entering and leaving the classroom and school building;

4. help maintain a school environment free of weapons, illegal drugs, controlled substances, and alcohol;

5. behave in a manner that contributes to a safe learning environment and which does not violate other students right to learn;

6. share information with school officials regarding matters which may endanger the health and welfare of members of the school community;

7. respect the dignity and equality of others and refrain from conduct which denies or impinges on the rights of others;

8. show respect for school property and respect the property of others, both private and public;

9. be polite, courteous, and respectful toward others regardless of age, race, creed, color, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, physical and/or emotional condition, disability, marital status, and political beliefs, and refrain from making slurs based on these criteria;

10. behave in a polite, cooperative manner toward students, teachers, and other school staff;

11. promote good human relations and build bridges of understanding among the members of the school community;

12. use non-confrontational methods to resolve conflicts;

13. participate and vote in student government elections;

14. provide positive leadership by making student government a meaningful forum to encourage maximum involvement;

15. work with school staff in developing broad extracurricular programs in order to represent the range of physical, social and cultural interests and needs of students;

16. observe ethical codes of responsible journalism;

17. refrain from obscene and defamatory communication in speech, writing, and other modes of expression in their interactions with the school community;

18. express themselves in a manner which promotes cooperation and does not interfere with the educational process;

19. assemble in a peaceful manner and respect the decision of students who do not wish to participate;

20. bring to school only those personal possessions which are safe and do not interfere with the learning environment;

21. adhere to the guidelines established for dress and activities in the school gymnasium, physical education classes, laboratories, and shops;

22. be familiar with the school discipline code and abide by school rules and regulations;

23. provide leadership to encourage fellow students to follow established school policies and practices;

24. keep parents informed of school-related matters, including progress in school, social and educational events, and ensure that parents receive communications that are provided by school staff to students for transmittal to their parents.