Hazelwood School District and ACLU host meeting on students’ rights

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A discussion in the Hazelwood school district about the first amendment rights that students have while in school.

In May, dozens of Hazelwood West students walked out of the classroom in protest of teacher contract negotiations

The punishment for seniors was that they would not be able to walk in graduation.

This sparked another round of protests and the ACLU was ready to file a first amendment lawsuit against the district. Then the school board decided to lift that punishment to let their seniors walk.

Now the ACLU and the district are coming together to teach everyone what first amendment rights students have. A topic that has many layers according to Jeffrey Mittman the Executive Director of ACLU Missouri.

Mittman said the big thing to know is that students don’t lose their first amendment rights when they walk into school but it does change things.

“At the school the school has responsibility for keeping students safe and for educating them so the courts have recognized there are extra rules to be aware of, and limitations to be cognizant of when looking at first amendment rights in the school context,” said Mittman.