|Your Right to Be Heard
|Limitations on Punishment|
|Federal Law Limitations
Racial Disparities in School Discipline
NEWS & RECENT POSTS
NCSD Reports on Academic Outcomes of Integration
•Math and Science Outcomes
•Literacy, School Climate, and Graduation
•College Attendance and Poverty Outcomes
School Funding Inequalities
Study of School Funding Practices Finds That Four Out of Five States Fail to Provide Significant Additional Funding to High Need Districts and Students. Sixteen States Provide the Least Funding to the Districts and Students Who Need It the Most.
Many schools have dress codes that regulate the way students may express themselves through clothing, hairstyles and accessories such as buttons and armbands. Whether a student’s personal appearance is constitutionally protected will depend on:
Is the student’s appearance or dress a form of expression under the First Amendment?
There are not clear rules that all courts follow in this area. However, in general, personal appearance and dress that amounts to speech or expression has greater protection that personal appearances that are just assertions of one’s desire to dress how he wants or exercise his liberty. In other words, a student conveying a message, be it political, religious, or other, will have a stronger interest in conveying that message than if he or she is simply trying to convey his or her “individuality”. A message is protected speech under the first amendment if the speaker intends to “convey a particularized message…and in the surrounding circumstances the likelihood [is] great that the message [will] be understood by those who [view] it.” If a message is protected under the first amendment, then a court’s decision will depend on its reading of the first amendment for students in school. If the message is not protected under the first amendment, then the school’s ability to regulate a student’s appearance will depend on the type of appearance (hair, clothing, etc.), if the court believes students have a constitutional interest in this type of appearance, and the school’s interest in regulating the student’s appearance.
About half of the federal courts have held that students have a constitutional interest in the length and style of their hair, and that a school must show that the appearance of a student’s hair will likely lead to a material and substantial disruption before they may regulate its length. The other half of federal courts have held that students do not have a constitutional interest in the length of their hair.
iii. Other expressions of personal appearance