Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students often face discrimination and harassment in their schools. It is important for students to Know Your Rights.

Freedom of Speech and Expression

Many times students are discriminated against and sometimes punished for being, or talking about being gay. LGBT students have the right to be out in schools. Over 30 years ago the Supreme Court rules that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech at the schoolhouse gate." What does this mean?

Schools are NOT allowed to violate your First Amendment right to express yourself unless it is directly disturbing your school's learning environment or causes significant disruption in the classroom.

If your school is trying to stop you from talking about your sexual orientation or expressing yourself or your beliefs, contact the ACLU of Mississippi at 601-354-3408.

Privacy

Outing is the act of publicly declaring or revealing another person's sexual orientation. This can be done by spreading rumors and.or speculation.

The school does not have a right to "out" you to anyone without your permission.

If a teacher, counselor or any other school official threatens to tell your parents or anyone else that you're gay, and you don't want them to, make it clear that this is against your wishes.

If the person insists or follows through with outing you, contact the ACLU of Mississippi at 601-354-3408.

Harassment

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students often face discrimination and harassment into their school. It is important for students to know their rights.

Students in public schools have the right to be free from harassment. Anti-gay harassment can be potentially damaging for students. Harassment can take many forms such as name calling, physical threats, or physical attacks.

If you are being bullied at school because of your sexual orientation or gender, report it! Tell your guardian, teacher, administration, or any other responsible adult. Make sure to keep good records of what happened, who was involved and to whom you reported the incident.

If you feel your Constitutional Rights are being violated, contact the ACLU of Mississippi at 601-354-3408 or fax in a complaint to 601-355-6465.

Resources

86% of LGBTQ students report being harassed at school. While college can be a difficult time for all students, LGBTQ students face a unique set of challenges.

Many on-campus initiatives seek to assist LGBTQ students throughout college. TheBestColleges.org is committed to raising awareness for all the ways in which LGBTQ students can fully take advantage of these resources. Their new guide to College Resources for LGBTQ Students provides helpful information on choosing an LGBTQ-friendly college and finding a supportive network on campus.

Stay informed

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