Overview

“It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas 

Many of the rights that students have in school today are the result of advocacy in the judicial system. With each victory, there is greater protection for students’ rights to free speech and association, education, due process, equality, and privacy. Learning is best accomplished in an environment that respects students’ rights and promotes equality.

Under the New Jersey Constitution, students who attend public school have the right to equal protection of the laws and the right to a thorough and efficient education. Together with co-counsel, our attorneys filed a lawsuit against the state of New Jersey on behalf of a coalition of civil rights groups and nine children of various racial backgrounds claiming that persistent racial segregation in New Jersey’s public schools has violated the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of New Jersey students. The lawsuit contends that “because educational opportunity is, as a result, undermined for students in schools that are often characterized by intense poverty and social isolation in numerous, well-documented ways, these segregative state laws, policies, and practices deny an alarming number of Black and Latino students the benefits of a thorough and efficient education." The lawsuit reflects a groundbreaking effort that may prove to be among the most important social justice reforms of our time.

In a currently pending case, we filed a First Amendment lawsuit, together with a partner organization, on behalf of two students whose free speech rights were violated after they were suspended from school for simply posting nonthreatening pictures of firearms to private social media accounts on the weekend, during their private time. 

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